The long-term effects of the covid-19 virus are still unfolding. One study found that some people who contracted the virus have shown signs of increased brain damage and neurological disorders.
The new study, conducted by Evan Xu, Yan Xie, and Ziyad Al-Aly, was published in Nature Medicine on Sept. 22, 2022.
The study, “Long-term neurologic outcomes of COVID-19,” examined the national healthcare databases of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to build a cohort of 154,068 individuals with covid-19.
“The results show the devastating long-term effects of COVID-19,” senior author Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly of Washington University School of Medicine said in a statement, KSL reported.
Al-Aly and her colleagues at Washington University School of Medicine and the Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System conducted the study from March 1, 2020, to Jan. 15, 2021.
The study’s results showed that in the post-acute phase of covid-19, there was an increased risk of an array of incident neurologic sequelae, including ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke, cognition and memory disorders, peripheral nervous system disorders, episodic disorders (such as migraine and seizures), extrapyramidal and movement disorders, mental health disorders, musculoskeletal disorders, sensory disorders, Guillain–Barré syndrome, and encephalitis or encephalopathy.
Epidemiologist Elizabeth Jacobs pointed out the significance of this study ina recent series of tweets.
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Dr. Jacobs stressed that, in her view, the pandemic is not over, as President Joe Biden recently declared. “This is not the time to declare the pandemic to be ‘over.’ This paper shows that the excess burden of neurological outcomes was estimated to occur at a rate of ~71/1000 people. The severity of acute cases increased odds of neurological outcome, but even those with milder cases at risk,” she tweeted.
“The yearlong study, published in Nature Medicine, assessed brain health across 44 different disorders using medical records without patient identifiers from millions of U.S. veterans,” the thread continued. “Brain and other neurological disorders occurred in 7% more of those who had been infected with COVID compared with a similar group of veterans who had never been infected. That translates into roughly 6.6 million Americans who had brain impairments linked with their COVID infections, the team said.”
Jacobs added, “The numbers of those still affected at one year are huge on a population level. Absolutely enormous. Please do everything you can to avoid infection.”
Commuters stand on visual cues to encourage social distancing at a bus stop in downtown Caracas, Venezuela, June 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)/ photo modified