CHICAGO (Reuters) – People infected with COVID-19 are at higher risk of multiple brain injuries a year later than those who have never been infected with the coronavirus, affecting millions of Americans A possible investigation was reported on Thursday.
A year-long study published in Nature Medicine used patient ID-less medical records of millions of US veterans to assess brain health across 44 different disorders.
Those who had COVID had 7% more brain and other neurological disorders compared to a similar group of veterans who had never been infected. That equates to about 6.6 million Americans who had brain damage linked to COVID infection, the team said.
“The results show the devastating long-term effects of COVID-19,” said senior author Ziyad Al-Aly, Ph.D., of the University of Washington School of Medicine, in a statement.
Al-Aly and colleagues at the University of Washington School of Medicine and the Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System reviewed the medical records of 154,000 U.S. veterans who tested positive for COVID between March 1, 2020 and January 15, 2021. Did.
VIDEO: Study finds increased risk of some brain disorders after COVID-19 infection
They compared these to the records of 5.6 million patients who had not had COVID during the same period, and another group of 5.8 million in the period just before the coronavirus arrived in the United States.
Al-Aly said that while previous studies have looked at a narrower group of disorders and focused primarily on hospitalized patients, his study included both hospitalized and non-hospitalized patients. was included.
Memory impairment, commonly referred to as brain fog, was the most common symptom. Compared to controls, people infected with COVID had a 77% higher risk of developing memory impairment.
People infected with the virus were also 50% more likely to develop ischemic stroke caused by blood clots compared to the uninfected group.
People with COVID are 80% more likely to have seizures, 43% more likely to have mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, 35% more likely to have headaches and tremors. 42% more likely to suffer from movement disorders. compared with the control group.
Researchers said governments and health systems need to devise plans for a post-COVID world.
“Given the sheer scale of the pandemic, addressing these challenges requires urgency and coordination, but so far there are no global, national or regional response strategies,” said Al-Aly. says Mr.
(Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen, Editing by Bill Berkrot)