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One-third of COVID-19 survivors face this troubling disease

A new study suggests one-third of COVID-19 survivors face a ‘brain disease’

“Masks required” signage is pictured on the front doors of Pixels Foto & Frame in Sandy on Monday, April 5, 2021.
Masks required signage is pictured on the front doors of Pixels Foto & Frame in Sandy, Utah, on Monday, April 5, 2021.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

A new study suggests that one-third of COVID-19 survivors have long-term mental health or neurological symptoms, which some have referred to as a “brain disease.”

COVID-19 survivors face mental health issues

  • A new study — published in the medical journal Lancet Psychiatry — found that 24% of COVID-19 survivors were diagnosed with neurological or psychological conditions within six months of infections.
  • The most-reported symptom among the COVID-19 survivors was anxiety, which impacted 17% of patients in the study, which reviewed health records for more than 236,000 COVID-19 patients.
  • Mood disorders were second on the list of most-reported symptoms at 14%.

How health care systems can help COVID-19 patients

Maxime Taquet, an academic clinical fellow in psychiatry at the University of Oxford, told CNN the study might be a sign of how the health care system should help COVID-19 patients.

  • “Our results indicate that brain diseases and psychiatric disorders are more common after COVID-19 than after flu or other respiratory infections, even when patients are matched for other risk factors. We now need to see what happens beyond six months,” Taquet added.

‘Brain fog’ and other symptoms

Back in October 2020, experts expressed worry over the COVID-19 symptom called “brain fog,” which is when people who had COVID-19 suffer headaches and memory loss weeks to months after infection, as I wrote for the Deseret News.

  • “Often times these patients may have even recovered from the initial fever and shortness of breath symptoms and they continue to have very severe headaches and tend to often complain about memory loss, often referred to as a brain fog,” Dr. Shruti Agnihotri, a neurologist at the University of Alabama Birmingham, told ABC 33/40.

More recently, the Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago released findings from a new study that said some COVID-19 patients suffer neurological symptoms after they’ve had COVID-19. Many of these survivors did not suffer illness or require hospitalization when they were infected with COVID-19, as I wrote for the Deseret News.