Those who have been infected with the virus are at increased risk of developing a range of neurological conditions in the first year after the infection, new research shows.“Our study provides a comprehensive assessment of the long-term neurologic consequences of COVID-19,” said senior author Ziyad Al-Aly, MD, a clinical epidemiologist at Washington University.
We evaluated 44 brain and other neurologic disorders among both nonhospitalized and hospitalized patients, including those admitted to the intensive care unit.Overall, COVID-19 has contributed to more than 40 million new cases of neurological disorders worldwide, Al-Aly said.“It is definitely important to get vaccinated but also important to understand that they do not offer complete protection against these long-term neurologic disorders,” Al-Aly said.Statistical modeling was used to compare neurological outcomes in the COVID-19 data set with two other groups of people not infected with the virus: a control group of more than 5.6 million patients who did not have COVID-19 during the same time frame; and a control group of more than 5.8 million people from March 2018 to December 31, 2019, long before the virus infected and killed millions across the globe.
Neurological conditions occurred in 7% more people with COVID-19 compared with those who had not been infected with the virus.
Extrapolating this percentage based on the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., that translates to roughly 6.6 million people who have suffered brain impairments associated with the virus.
Compared with those in the control groups, people who contracted the virus were at a 77% increased risk of developing memory problems.
There were two more cases of Alzheimer’s per 1,000 people with COVID-19 compared with the control groups.Also compared to the control groups, people who had the virus were 50% more likely to suffer from an ischemic stroke, which strikes when a blood clot or other obstruction blocks an artery’s ability to supply blood and oxygen to the brain.Overall, compared to the uninfected, people who had COVID-19 were 80% more likely to suffer from epilepsy or seizures, 43% more likely to develop mental health disorders such as anxiety or depression, 35% more likely to experience mild to severe headaches, and 42% more likely to encounter movement disorders.“Our study adds to this growing body of evidence by providing a comprehensive account of the neurologic consequences of COVID-19 one year after infection,” Al-Aly said.Long-term neurologic outcomes of COVID-19Here we use the national healthcare databases of the US Department of Veterans Affairs to build a cohort of 154,068 individuals with COVID-19, 5,638,795 contemporary controls and 5,859,621 historical controls; we use inverse probability weighting to balance the cohorts, and estimate risks and burdens of incident neurologic disorders at 12 months following acute SARS-CoV-2 infection Our results show that in the postacute phase of COVID-19, there was increased risk of an array of incident neurologic sequelae including ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke, cognition and memory disorders, peripheral nervous system disorders, episodic disorders (for example, migraine and seizures), extrapyramidal and movement disorders, mental health disorders, musculoskeletal disorders, sensory disorders, Guillain–Barré syndrome, and encephalitis or encephalopathyTaken together, our results provide evidence of increased risk of long-term neurologic disorders in people who had COVID-19
21 hours ago
22 hours ago
22 hours ago
1 day ago
Get monthly updates and free resources.
CONNECT WITH US