COVID elevates risk of neurological issues, study suggests

COVID-19 swab.
(Image credit: Paul Biris/Getty Images.)

A new, large-scale study from the University of Oxford offers up a bit of good and bad news for COVID patients past and present, Stat News reports.

In good news — though mood disorders like anxiety and depression are more common shortly after a COVID diagnosis, they are ultimately "transient, becoming no more likely after ... two months than following similar infections such as flu," Stat writes. The bad news? Up to two years post-COVID infection, the risk of developing a neurological condition like "brain fog," psychosis, or dementia is still higher than it is following other respiratory infections.

Though children were not more likely to be diagnosed with a mood disorder either immediately or in the years following a COVID infection, they "were still more likely than children recovering from other respiratory infections to have seizures and psychotic disorders," Stat writes. The risk of brain fog in children also dissipated after two years. "Overall, the likelihood of all these diagnoses was lower in children than in adults," Stat adds.

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Published Wednesday in The Lancet Psychiatry, the study's findings carry "important implications for patients and health services as it suggests new cases of neurological conditions linked to COVID-19 infection are likely to occur for a considerable time after the pandemic has subsided," lead author Paul Harrison said in a statement, per Axios.

Overall, the analysis "adds to the growing body of evidence pointing to the long-lasting damage caused by the coronavirus," also known as "long COVID," Politico writes.

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