1 in 3 patients may have neurological issues after COVID-19, experts say

At least one-third of COVID-19 patients may experience lingering neurological issues after recovering from the infection, health experts told STAT.

Neurological or psychological effects range from anxiety and depression to more nonspecific symptoms such as fatigue, sleep issues or waking abnormalities due to nerve damage, according to Teodor Postolache, MD, professor of psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in College Park.

"We would say that perhaps between 30 percent and 50 percent of people with an infection that has clinical manifestations are going to have some form of mental health issues," he told STAT.   

Other potential effects include "a general sense of not being at your best" and not fully recovering abilities to perform academically, physically or occupationally, according to Dr. Postolache.

These symptoms highlight a growing consensus among researchers that COVID-19 can affect the brain long-term, according to STAT

"It's not only an acute problem. This is going to be a chronic illness," Wes Ely, a researcher, pulmonologist and critical care physician at Nashville, Tenn.-based Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told the publication. "The problem for these people is not over when they leave the hospital."

Researchers said it is still unclear when or if these neurological issues resolve themselves. There is also little research exploring why they occur or how to prevent and treat them, STAT reported.

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