Brain fog may last for 2 years after COVID-19, study finds

Brain fog and other neurological issues may linger for two years after a COVID-19 diagnosis, according to a study published Aug. 17 in The Lancet Psychiatry. 

Researchers at the University of Oxford in the U.K. analyzed health records from more than 1.4 million people, mostly from the U.S., who were diagnosed with COVID-19 between Jan. 20, 2020, and April 13, 2022. Researchers compared their outcomes to those of an equal number of patients with other respiratory infections.

Risk for psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression initially jumped for adults with COVID-19 but fell to rates seen among the control group after two months. However, two years after their infection, people with COVID-19 still had an elevated risk of brain fog, dementia, psychotic disorders and epilepsy compared to the control group. 

"These findings are relevant for policymakers involved in anticipating and addressing the health burden of the pandemic, for researchers seeking to identify the mechanisms underpinning brain sequelae of COVID-19, and for patients and clinicians wishing to know the neurological and psychiatric risks following SARS-CoV-2 infections," researchers said.

View the full study here.


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