One in three people who overcame COVID-19 were diagnosed with a neurological or psychiatric condition six months on, the largest study so far published on the mental toll of the virus on survivors showed.
The study, published yesterday in The Lancet Psychiatry journal, proved that COVID-19 survivors were significantly more likely to develop brain conditions than those who had other respiratory tract infections, the authors said.
Studying the health records of more than 230,000 poeople who had recovered from COVID-19, the researchers found that 34 percent were diagnosed with a neurological or psychiatric condition within six months.
The most common conditions were anxiety (17 percent of patients) and mood disorders (14 percent), the study showed.
For 13 percent of survivors, the disorders were their first diagnosis of a mental health issue. Incidence of neurological disorders such as brain haemorrhage (0.6 percent), stroke (2.1 percent) and dementia (0.7 percent) was lower overall than for psychiatric disorders, but the risk for brain disorders was generally higher for those who had severe COVID-19, the study showed.
The authors also examined data from more than 100,000 people diagnosed with influenza and more than 236,000 diagnosed with other respiratory tract infections.
They found that there was a 44 percent greater risk of neurological and mental health diagnoses after COVID-19 than after flu, and a 16 percent higher risk than after a respiratory tract infection.
Paul Harrison, a researcher at the University of Oxford and lead author of the study, said that while the individual risk of neurological and psychiatric conditions after COVID-19 was small, the overall effect across the global population could prove to be substantial.
“Many of these conditions are chronic,” he said. “As a result, healthcare systems need to be resourced to deal with the anticipated need, both within primary and secondary care services.”
Patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19 were at great risk of developing long-term conditions, the study showed.
For example, 46 percent of patients who needed intensive care were diagnosed with neurological or psychiatric conditions within six months of recovery, it showed.
The study also showed that 2.7 percent of people needing intensive care experienced subsequent brain haemorrhage, compared with 0.3 percent of people who were not hospitalized.
Nearly 7 percent of those needing intensive care had a stroke, compared with 1.3 percent of people who experienced milder COVID-19 infections.
Writing in a linked comment article, Jonathan Rogers, a researcher at University College London, said that further research was needed on the long-term neurological and psychiatric outcomes among people who had COVID-19.
“Sadly, many of the disorders identified in this study tend to be chronic or recurrent, so we can anticipate that the impact of COVID-19 could be with us for many years,” said Rogers, who was not involved in the study.
“It is clear from this study that the impact COVID-19 is having on individuals mental health can be severe,” said Lea Milligan, CEO of MQ Mental Health, a research group. “This is contributing to the already rising levels of mental illness and requires further, urgent research.”
BEIJING BAILOUT: Pyongyang’s economic woes would not lead to famine because China will not let that happen due to its fear of a pro-US unified Korea, experts say North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has called for another “arduous march” to fight severe economic difficulties, for the first time comparing them to a 1990s famine that killed hundreds of thousands. Kim had previously said his nation faces its “worst-ever” situation due to several factors — including the COVID-19 pandemic, US-led sanctions and natural disasters in the summer last year — but it is the first time he has publicly drawn a parallel with the deadly famine. North Korea monitoring groups have not detected any signs of mass starvation or a humanitarian disaster, but Kim’s comments still suggest how seriously he views
‘VOSTOK 1’: The first flight attempt is planned to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the first space flight by Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin NASA’s Ingenuity mini-helicopter has survived its first night alone on the frigid surface of Mars, the US space agency said, hailing it as “a major milestone” for the tiny craft as it prepares for its first flight. The ultra-light aircraft was dropped on the surface on Saturday after detaching from the belly of the Perseverance rover, which touched down on Feb. 18. Detached from the Perseverance, Ingenuity had to rely on its own solar-powered battery to run a vital heater to protect its unshielded electrical components from freezing and cracking during the bitter Martian night, where temperatures can plunge as low as
A years-long David and Goliath fight which has seen two Australian surfers take on a Chinese-linked company over alleged damage of an idyllic Fijian island has come to its conclusion after a court handed down a guilty verdict against the developers yesterday. The case has been described by Pacific legal experts as a “watershed” moment that tested Fijian environmental laws, as well as the willingness of the nation — which presents itself as a global climate leader — to “walk the walk” on environmental issues. Freesoul, a Chinese-linked company, in 2018 began work on Malolo Island, with plans to build Fiji’s largest
LOSING CONTROL? Fitch Solutions said that a revolution pitting the military against the anti-coup movement and ethnic militias was likely due to the rising violence Burmese security forces yesterday arrested Paing Takhon, a model and actor who had spoken out against a military coup, his sister told reporters, as people placed shoes filled with flowers in parts of Yangon to commemorate dead protesters. Troops on Wednesday opened fire on protesters, killing at least 15 people and wounding dozens, protesters and media said. Nearly 600 civilians have been killed by security forces since the junta in February seized power from the elected government of Aung San Su Kyi, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said on Wednesday. The advocacy group said that 2,847 were being held in detention. A spokesman