• Sun. May 26th, 2024

New research claims Covid impairs brain health, but not more than similarly severe illnesses


NEW DELHI: New research conducted at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, suggests that severe Covid-19 patients experience impaired brain function comparable to individuals hospitalized for illnesses like pneumonia, cardiac arrest, and other critical conditions. The study, published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) Network Open, sheds light on the long-term effects on brain health and aims to provide perspective on concerns specific to Covid-19.
The study, led by researchers at the University of Copenhagen, involved 345 participants, including 120 Covid-19 patients, 125 patients hospitalized for non-Covid-19 pneumonia, myocardial infarction (cardiac arrest), or other non-Covid-19, intensive care-requiring illnesses, and 100 healthy controls.The participants underwent an 18-month follow-up period, during which cognitive, neurological, and psychiatric effects were assessed.
Results showed that patients hospitalized due to Covid-19 exhibited worse cognitive, neurological, and psychiatric effects compared to healthy individuals. What next was also a surprise for the researchers as they found these deficits in brain function were not significantly different to those in “carefully matched” patients requiring hospitalisation for other health problems.
In conclusion, the researcher asserted that long-term associations with brain health might not be Covid-19-specific and might be associated with overall illness severity and hospitalisation.
The outcomes of the research helped in understanding concerns about brain health after Covid-19. The findings of the research were published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) Network Open. Studies conducted previously have found that Covid-19 compromises brain function.
However, the researchers claimed that long-term prospective investigations with matched control cohorts and face-to-face assessments were lacking.
The participants of the research were evaluated for their cognition and executive function over the follow-up period. Depression and anxiety were also assessed in the patients who also underwent a neurological examination that was used to measure sensorimotor, cerebellar functions and cranial nerves.
Along with measuring their mental functionalities, the team also had conversations with the patients to amass data on cognitive and neuropsychiatric symptoms they were experiencing which also included fatigue.
The team highlighted that a lot of differences were observed between Covid-19 patients and patients with other health issues. The Covid-19 patients performed worse in all the evaluations, except for executive function and impaired sense of smell as compared to healthy controls, but no worse than those hospitalised with similarly severe illnesses.


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