COVID-19 and long-term health effects: 2 new findings

New research shared this week adds to a growing body of evidence exploring COVID-19's potential long-term health ramifications for children and adults. 

Two key findings:

1. COVID-19 survivors may be at higher risk for various brain injuries one year after their infection compared to those who haven't been infected, according to a study published Sept. 22 in Nature Medicine. Researchers at the VA St. Louis Helath Care System analyzed EHR data on millions of Veterans Affairs patients nationwide, including 154,068 who had COVID-19. They found people with COVID-19 had a higher risk of neurological disorders, regardless of age. This group reported 7 percent more neurological disorders compared to the control group. 

2. COVID-19 may also increase the risk of Type 1 diabetes in children, according to new research from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Researchers analyzed data on 1.2 million Norwegians under age 18 to assess national trends in new onset diabetes diagnoses between March 2020 and March 2022. After adjusting for various factors, researchers found young people who got COVID-19 were about 60 percent more likely to develop Type 1 diabetes 30 days or more after an infection compared to those who were not infected.

Overall, the risk of developing diabetes was low, and researchers said the findings do not establish a causal relationship between COVID-19 and diabetes. The study was presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes's annual meeting in Stockholm held Sept. 19-23.


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