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COVID-19 infection increases risk of long-term brain problems




Overview: COVID-19 infection is associated with a variety of persistent neurological and psychological disorders, including depression, memory impairment, and Parkinson’s disease-like disorders, within a year of infection.

sauce: WUSTL

If you’ve had COVID-19, your brain may still be confused. A new study shows that people infected with the virus are at increased risk of developing various neurological conditions within a year of infection.

Such complications include stroke, cognitive and memory problems, depression, and anxiety, according to a comprehensive analysis of federal health data by researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System. and migraine headaches.

In addition, the post-coronavirus brain has been affected by a range of symptoms, from tremors and involuntary muscle contractions to epileptic seizures, hearing and vision abnormalities, balance and coordination difficulties, and other symptoms similar to those experienced in Parkinson’s disease. related to disability.

The survey results will be published on September 22nd. natural medicine.

“Our study provides a comprehensive assessment of the long-term neurological impact of COVID-19,” said senior author Ziyad Al-Aly, MD, a clinical epidemiologist at the University of Washington. I’m here.

“Previous studies have looked at a narrower range of neurological outcomes, mainly in hospitalized patients. , evaluated 44 brain and other neurological disorders.

“The results show the devastating long-term effects of COVID-19. These are part of the long COVID. The virus is not always as benign as some people think.”

Overall, COVID-19 has contributed to more than 40 million new cases of neuropathy worldwide, Al-Aly said.

Other than COVID infection, there are few specific risk factors for long-term neurological problems.

“We see brain problems in people who were previously healthy or had mild infections,” Al-Ali said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, female or male, race. It doesn’t matter if you smoked or had other unhealthy habits or conditions.”

During the study period from March 2020 to early January 2021, very few people were vaccinated against COVID-19 in this study because the vaccine was not yet widely available. The data also predates Delta, Omicron, and other his COVID variants.

previous research in natural medicine A research team led by Al-Aly found that the vaccine slightly reduced the long-term risk of brain damage (about 20%).

“While getting vaccinated is definitely important, it’s also important to understand that it doesn’t offer complete protection against these long-term neurological disorders,” said Al-Aly.

Researchers analyzed approximately 14 million anonymized medical records in a database maintained by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the largest integrated health care system in the United States. Patients included all ages, races and genders.

They created a controlled dataset of 154,000 people who tested positive for COVID-19 between March 1, 2020 and January 15, 2021 and survived 30 days after infection.

Statistical modeling was used to compare the neurological outcome of the COVID-19 dataset with two other virus-naive groups. A control group of over 5.8 million people from March 2018 to December 31, 2019, long before the virus spread worldwide and killed millions.

Researchers looked at brain health over a period of one year. People infected with COVID-19 had 7% more neurological illness than people without the virus. Based on her number of COVID-19 cases in the United States, this percentage equates to about 6.6 million people with virus-related brain damage.

Memory impairment, colloquially called brain fog, is one of the most common brain-related long-term COVID symptoms. Compared to controls, people infected with the virus had a 77% increased risk of developing memory impairment.

“These problems resolve in some people, but persist in many others,” said Al-Aly. “At the moment, we don’t know the proportion of people who improve versus those who have long-term problems.”

Interestingly, researchers noted an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease among people infected with the virus. was two more.

“People who have COVID-19 are unlikely to suddenly develop Alzheimer’s disease,” Al-Aly said.

“Alzheimer’s disease takes years to develop. It means it’s on a faster trajectory than it will develop.

Also, compared to controls, people infected with the virus are more likely to develop ischemic stroke, which occurs when a blood clot or other blockage blocks the ability of an artery to supply blood and oxygen to the brain. 50% higher.

Ischemic stroke accounts for the majority of all strokes and can lead to speech difficulties, cognitive confusion, visual impairment, sensory loss on one side of the body, permanent brain damage, paralysis, and death.

This shows a research infographic
A comprehensive analysis of federal data by researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis shows that people infected with COVID-19 are at increased risk of developing a neurological condition within a year of infection. . Complications include movement disorders, memory impairment, stroke, and seizures.Credit: Sara Moser/University of Washington School of Medicine

“There are several studies by other researchers that have shown that SARS-CoV-2 can attack the lining of blood vessels and subsequently cause stroke or seizures in mice and humans,” Al-Aly said. “This helps explain how people with no risk factors can suddenly have a stroke.”

Overall, people infected with COVID-19 are 80% more likely to have epilepsy or seizures and more likely to develop mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression, compared to those who are not infected43. 35% more likely to experience mild to severe headaches. , 42% more likely to encounter a movement disorder. The latter includes involuntary muscle contractions, tremors, and other Parkinson’s-like symptoms.

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This shows a map of synapses

Patients with COVID-19 were also 30% more likely to have eye problems such as blurred vision, dryness and retinal inflammation. They were also 22% more likely to develop hearing abnormalities such as tinnitus and ringing in the ears.

“Our study adds to this growing body of evidence by providing a comprehensive description of the neurological effects of COVID-19 one year after infection,” Al-Aly said.

The long-term impact of COVID-19 on the brain and other systems will depend on governments developing policy, public health and prevention strategies to manage the ongoing pandemic and to devise plans for a post-COVID world. Underscoring the need for a healthcare system, Al-Ali said.

“Given the sheer scale of the pandemic, addressing these challenges requires urgent and coordinated coordination, but so far there are no global, national and regional response strategies,” he said. Told.

About this Neurology and COVID-19 Research News

author: press office
sauce: WUSTL
contact: Press Office – WUSTL
image: Image credit to Sara Moser/Washington University School of Medicine

Original research: open access.
Long-term neurological outcomes of COVID-19By Ziyad Al-Aly et al. natural medicine


Long-term neurological outcomes of COVID-19

Although acute COVID-19 neurological symptoms are well characterized, a comprehensive assessment of acute neurological sequelae after 1 year has not been performed.

Here, we use the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Medical Database to construct 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 the risk and burden of neuropathy occurring 12 months after acute SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Our results suggest that during the acute phase of COVID-19, there is a spectrum of episodic events, including ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke, cognitive and memory impairment, peripheral nervous system disorders, and transient disability (e.g., migraine and seizures). showed an increased risk of severe neurological sequelae. , extrapyramidal and movement disorders, psychiatric disorders, musculoskeletal disorders, sensory disorders, Guillain-Barre syndrome, and encephalitis or encephalopathy.

The hazard ratio for neurological sequelae was estimated to be 1.42 (95% CI 1.38, 1.47) per 1,000 persons at 12 months, with a burden of 70.69 (95% CI 63.54, 78.01). Even those who did not require hospitalization during the acute phase of COVID-19 had increased risk and burden. Restrictions include cohorts composed primarily of Caucasian males.

Taken together, our results provide evidence of an increased risk of long-term neurological impairment in people infected with COVID-19.




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