New research highlights COVID-19’s lingering effects on the brain, finding that in the six months after becoming ill, roughly a third of surviving patients were diagnosed with at least one neurological or psychiatric disorder.
The neuropsychiatric ailments that followed COVID-19 ranged widely, from stroke and dementia to anxiety disorders and sleep disturbances. Virtually all were more common among patients who became sick enough to be hospitalized with COVID-19, and the risk was even higher for those admitted to an intensive care unit.
Patients who developed encephalitis, a dangerous swelling of the brain, were most likely to manifest serious neurological illness in COVID-19’s wake.
But even those who were not hospitalized were more likely to get a diagnosis for one or more neuropsychiatric disorders than were people who had suffered a bout of flu or another respiratory illness, researchers found.
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