Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis made the relevant publication in the medical journal “Nature Medicine”, analyzing data on 154,000 people diagnosed with Covid-19
People who become ill with Covid-19 face an increased risk of developing long-term neurological problems in the first year after the initial infection, a major new US scientific study shows. Such brain complications include strokes, memory problems, seizures, depression, anxiety, migraines, movement disorders, etc.
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, led by clinical epidemiologist Ziad Al-‘Ali, who made the relevant publication in the medical journal “Nature Medicine”analyzed data on 154,000 people diagnosed with Covid-19 in 2020-21, as well as two groups of 5.6 and 5.8 million people without coronavirus during and before the pandemic respectively (they were the control groups for comparison purposes) .
The study looked at brain health over a year. It found that neurological conditions occurred in 7% more people with Covid-19 than without the disease. The most common disorder was memory problems and brain fog. Compared to people without Covid-19, those infected with coronavirus were 77% more likely to have long-term problems later with their memory.
Also, the risk of Alzheimer’s was found to be increased among those who fell ill due to coronavirus. Compared to the control groups, there were two more cases of Alzheimer’s per 1,000 people among those who got sick with Covid-19.
It is unlikely that someone who has had Covid-19 will suddenly develop Alzheimer’s, as the disease takes years to manifest itself. But what we suspect is happening, is that people who were predisposed to Alzheimer’s may be aggravated by Covid-19 and eventually develop the disease. It’s rare but worrying,” said Dr Al-‘Ali.
Also, compared to the control groups, people who had passed Covid-19 were 50% more likely to have an ischemic stroke, that is, a blockage in the circulation of blood and oxygen to their brain. Such strokes – which are far more common than haemorrhages – can lead to slurred speech, cognitive confusion, vision problems, permanent brain damage, paralysis or even death.
Also, people with previous Covid-19 had an 80% higher risk of subsequent seizure, 43% for mental disorders such as depression and anxiety, 42% for movement difficulties (muscle twitching and Parkinsonian-like tremors), 35% for mild to severe headaches , 30% for eye problems (blurry vision, dry eyes, inflammation, etc.), as well as 22% for hearing problems such as ringing in the ears.
“Our study provides a comprehensive assessment of the long-term neurological consequences of Covid-19. The findings show the serious long-term effects of the disease, which are part of the long Covid-19. The virus is not always as harmless as some people think,” stressed Al-‘Ali, who pointed out that Covid-19 has so far contributed to over 40 million new cases of neurological disorders worldwide.
We are seeing brain problems in previously healthy people and those who have had mild Covid-19 infections. It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, female or male, or what your race is. It doesn’t matter if you smoked or not, if you had other unhealthy habits or not,” he added.
An earlier study in the same medical journal by roughly the same research team had found that coronavirus vaccines cut the risk of long-term brain problems by about 20%. “It’s certainly important to get vaccinated, but it’s also important to understand that vaccines don’t offer complete protection against these long-term neurological disorders,” Al-‘Ali stressed.
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