By Tom Hurley • 30 June 2022 • 7:12
Covid-19 patients have increased risk of developing brain disorders. Image: SpeedKingz/Shutterstock.com
Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and ischaemic stroke are among the brain illnesses that previous Covid-19 patients are more likely to develop later in life.
After examining the data from 919,731 people that took tests for the virus, Danish scientists found that the 43,375 positive patients in the study were 3.5 times more likely to develop Alzheimers down the line.
They also discovered that the cohort was 4.8 times more likely to suffer a brain bleed, 2.7 times more likely to suffer an ischaemic stroke, and 2.6 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s.
Dr Pardis Zarifkar of the Neurology department at Rigshospitalet in Denmark led the study.
“More than two years after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the precise nature and evolution of the effects of Covid-19 on neurological disorders remained uncharacterised,” he said.
“Previous studies have established an association with neurological syndromes, but until now it is unknown whether Covid-19 also influences the incidence of specific neurological diseases and whether it differs from other respiratory infections.”
Over 22 million people have caught the coronavirus in the UK, while more than 12.7 million people have suffered from the virus in Spain.
Some of those who have been stricken by the bug have gone on to deal with long Covid, meaning their symptoms continued for weeks or even months following the original infection.
Shortness of breath, extreme tiredness, heart palpitations and chest pains are among the symptoms of the disease.
Medics also found that coronavirus patients over 80 were 1.7 times more susceptible to come down with pneumonia and the flu.
Dr Zarifkar said that further research was needed to understand more about the long-term risks to those who have contracted the coronavirus.
“Reassuringly, apart for ischemic stroke, most neurological disorders do not appear to be more frequent after Covid-19 than after influenza or community-acquired bacterial pneumonia,” he said.
“These findings will help to inform our understanding of the long-term effect of Covid-19 on the body and the role that infections play in neurodegenerative diseases and stroke.”
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