COVID Elevates Long-Term Brain Injury Risk, States US Study


According to a study published on September 22nd by U.S. researchers, those who had COVID-19 were more likely to experience a variety of brain damage a year later than those who had never had the coronavirus. This result may have implications for millions of Americans.

The one-year study, which was reported in Nature Medicine, used anonymized medical records from millions of U.S. veterans to evaluate brain health across 44 distinct illnesses. Compared to a similar sample of veterans who had never been infected with COVID, 7% more of those with COVID had brain and other neurological abnormalities. According to the team, this amounts to around 6.6 million Americans who experienced brain damage as a result of their COVID infections.

According to senior author Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly of the Washington University School of Medicine, the results reveal the terrible long-term effects of COVID-19.

Al-Aly and colleagues at the Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System and Washington University School of Medicine examined the medical files of 154,000 American veterans who had tested positive for COVID between March 1, 2020, and January 15, 2021.

These were contrasted with data from 5.6 million individuals who were COVID-free during the same time period and a separate sample of 5.8 million people during the time just before the coronavirus entered the United States. Prior research, according to Al-Aly, focused mostly on patients who were hospitalised and looked at a smaller number of illnesses, but his study covered both hospitalised and out-of-hospital patients.

The most prevalent symptom was memory loss, sometimes known as brain fog. People with COVID showed a 77% higher probability of having memory issues compared to the control groups.

Those who had the virus were also 50% more likely than those who had never had it to get an ischemic stroke, which is brought on by blood clots.

In comparison to the control groups, those with COVID were 82% more likely to experience seizures, 43% more likely to experience mental health conditions like worry or despair, 35% more likely to experience headaches, and 42% more likely to experience movement disorders like tremors.

Governments and healthcare systems must create plans for a post-COVID era, according to researchers. Given the enormous magnitude of the pandemic, Al-Aly stated that urgent and coordinated global, national, and regional response measures are needed in order to face these difficulties.