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Covid can increase the risk of dementia and psychosis in sufferers for up to two years

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Covid can increase the risk of dementia and psychosis in sufferers for up to two years, research claims

  • Experts studied more than 1.25 million people with Covid in the UK
  • After the virus, new diagnoses of psychosis and dementia were found
  • Children experienced smaller increases than adults for most conditions, except for seizures
  • Also, higher risk of anxiety and depression in adults – fell within two months

Covid patients are at higher risk of developing brain fog, seizures and dementia, research claims.

Experts studied more than 1.25 million people with Covid and found that new diagnoses of psychosis, dementia, seizures and brain fog were more common in the two years after the virus than for other respiratory infections such as the flu.

Children experienced smaller increases than adults for most conditions, except for seizures and psychosis. Adults were also at higher risk of anxiety and depression – but this fell within two months.

Experts studied more than 1.25 million people with Covid and found that new diagnoses of psychosis, dementia, seizures and brain fog were more common in the two years after the virus than for other respiratory infections such as the flu (picture).

The delta and omicron variants were associated with more disorders than the alpha variant. Lead author Professor Paul Harrison of the University of Oxford said the study showed that brain conditions associated with Covid can far outlast the pandemic. He called for research into “what can be done to prevent or treat these conditions”.

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However, Professor Paul Garner of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine warned that the increased risk of dementia and psychosis may be related to “societal upheavals” rather than Covid itself.

“I think we have to be careful in interpreting the reported small increase in dementia and psychosis: I think it’s more related to the social upheaval and dystopia we’ve been experiencing than it’s a direct effect. virus,” he said.

Children experienced smaller increases than adults for most conditions, except for seizures and psychosis.  Adults were also at higher risk of anxiety and depression - but this fell within two months (Figure)

Children experienced smaller increases than adults for most conditions, except for seizures and psychosis. Adults were also at higher risk of anxiety and depression – but this fell within two months (Figure)

Professor Harrison added: “As well as confirming previous findings that Covid-19 can increase the risk of some neurological and psychiatric conditions in the first six months after infection, this study suggests that some of these increased risks may last for at least two years.”

“The results have important implications for patients and health services, as they suggest that new cases of neurological conditions related to Covid-19 infection are likely to emerge for a considerable time after the pandemic has subsided.

“Our work also highlights the need for further research to understand why this occurs post-Covid-19 and what can be done to prevent or treat these conditions.”

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