The risk of neurological and psychiatric conditions such as dementia and seizures is higher two years after COVID-19 compared to other respiratory infections, suggests a study that tracked the health records of more than 1.25 million patients published in The Lancet Psychiatry.
In adults, the increased risk of depression and anxiety lasts less than two months before returning to rates after other respiratory infections. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is increasing evidence that survivors may suffer from neurological and psychiatric conditions.
In an earlier observational study by the same research team, survivors of COVID-19 were at increased risk for several neurological and mental health conditions in the first six months after infection.
However, until now, there have been no large-scale data examining the risks of these diagnoses over a long period of time.
“In addition to confirming previous findings that COVID-19 increases the risk of certain neurological and psychiatric conditions in the first six months after infection, this study suggests that some of these increased risks may last for at least two years,” Professor Paul said. Harrison, from the University of Oxford, UK.
“The results have important implications for patients and health care providers because new cases of neurological conditions associated with this COVID-19 infection may appear long after the pandemic has subsided,” said Harrison, lead author of the study.
The study also highlights the need for more research to understand why this happens after COVID-19 and what can be done to prevent or treat these conditions. The study analyzed data on 14 neurological and psychiatric diagnoses collected over a two-year period primarily from electronic health records in the United States.
Among US-based TriNetX health participants, 1,284,437 individuals with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection on or after January 20, 2020 were included in the study: 185,748 children, 856,588 adults 18 to 64 years of age, and 242,101 65 years and older. superiors.
These individuals were matched with an equal number of patients with other respiratory infections to act as a control group.
The records of patients infected with COVID-19 during different pandemic waves were compared to examine the differences in the effects of alpha, delta, and omicron variants on the risk of neurological and psychiatric diagnoses.
People with a first diagnosis of COVID-19 during the period when a particular variant was prevalent were compared with a control group of people with a first diagnosis of COVID-19 before that variant appeared. .
The study found that the risk of being diagnosed with depression or anxiety in adults initially increased after SARS-CoV-2 infection, but returned after a relatively short time, similar to other respiratory infections.
After the initial increase, the risks for a diagnosis of depression or anxiety fell below the control group’s risk, indicating that after two years there was no difference in the overall incidence of depression and anxiety between the COVID-19 group and the other respiratory groups. group of infections.
However, at the end of the two-year follow-up, the risk of being diagnosed with some other neurological and mental health conditions was still higher after COVID-19 than with other respiratory infections.
Adults aged 18-64 who had contracted COVID-19 before age two had a higher risk of cognitive deficits, or “brain fog,” and muscle pain compared to those who contracted respiratory infections before age two.
Adults aged 65 and older who had been infected with COVID-19 for up to two years had higher rates of brain fog, dementia and psychosis than those with other respiratory infections.
Children had lower odds of most neurological and psychiatric diagnoses after COVID-19 than adults, and they were no more at risk for anxiety or depression than children with other respiratory infections.
However, like adults, children may be diagnosed with certain conditions, including seizures and psychotic disorders, in the two years following COVID-19.
There was little change in the risk of neurological and psychiatric diagnoses six months after COVID-19 before and after the introduction of the alpha variant.
However, the occurrence of the Delta variant was associated with a six-month risk of anxiety, cognitive deficits, epilepsy or seizures, and ischemic stroke, but a lower risk of dementia compared to those diagnosed with COVID-19 before the Delta wave. .
The risks during the Omicron wave were similar to those when Delta was the dominant option.
“The increased risk of depression and anxiety diagnoses following COVID-19 is relatively short-lived and the good news is that the risk of these diagnoses has not increased in children,” said Oxford University’s Max Tackett. analysis.
“However, it is worrying that some other conditions, such as dementia and epilepsy, are being diagnosed more frequently after COVID-19, even two years later,” said Max Tackett.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published on a syndicated channel.)