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EMERGENCY MESSAGE – Studies By French, Spanish And German Scientists Has Found That Covid-19 Can Affect Blood Vessels In The Human Brain That Cause Long-Term Consequences – Researchers at Oxford University Found That 34% Of People In The United States Infected With The Covid-19 Virus Had Been Diagnosed With Neurological Or Psychiatric Illnesses Within Six Months

  • Alert date October 25, 2021

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    The new findings, published in the Lancet Psychiatry journal, analysed
    health records of 236,379 COVID-19 patients, mostly from the United
    States, and found 34% had been diagnosed with neurological or
    psychiatric illnesses within six months.

    Researchers who conducted the analysis said it was not clear how the
    virus was linked to psychiatric conditions such as anxiety and
    depression, but that these were the most common diagnoses among the
    14 disorders they looked at.

    Post-COVID cases of stroke, dementia and other neurological disorders
    were rarer, the researchers said, but were still significant, especially in
    those who had severe COVID-19.

    “Although the individual risks for most disorders are small, the effect
    across the whole population may be substantial,” said Paul Harrison, a
    professor of psychiatry at Oxford University who co-led the work.

    Max Taquet, also an Oxford psychiatrist who worked with Harrison,
    noted that the study was not able to examine the biological or
    psychological mechanisms involved, but said urgent research is needed
    to identify these “with a view to preventing or treating them”.

    Health experts are increasingly concerned by evidence of higher risks of
    brain and mental health disorders among COVID-19 survivors.

    A previous study by the same researchers found last year that 20% of
    COVID-19 survivors were diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder within
    three months.

    The disorders were significantly more common in COVID-19 patients
    than in comparison groups of people who recovered from flu or other
    respiratory infections over the same time period, the scientists said,
    suggesting COVID-19 had a specific impact.

    Anxiety, at 17%, and mood disorders, at 14%, were the most common,
    and did not appear to be related to how mild or severe the patient’s
    COVID-19 infection had been.

    Among those who had been admitted to intensive care with severe
    COVID-19 however, 7% had a stroke within six months, and almost 2%
    were diagnosed with dementia.

    Independent experts said the findings were worrying.

    “This is a very important paper. It confirms beyond any reasonable
    doubt that COVID-19 affects both brain and mind in equal measure,”
    said Simon Wessely, chair of psychiatry at King’s College London.

    “The impact COVID-19 is having on individuals’ mental health can be
    severe,” said Lea Milligan, chief executive of the MQ Mental Health
    research charity.

    “This is contributing to the already rising levels of
    mental illness and requires further, urgent research.”

    Reporting by Kate Kelland, editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise
    Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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