How COVID-19 affects the brain: 4 things to know

COVID-19 may cause numerous psychiatric and neurological complications in patients of all ages, including stroke and psychosis, according to a small U.K. study published in The Lancet Psychiatry.

Researchers examined data on 125 adult COVID-19 patients hospitalized in the U.K who all experienced some type of neuropsychiatric complication.

Four study findings:

1. The most common complication was stroke caused by a blood clot in the brain, which affected 57 of the 125 patients.

2. Thirty-nine patients had an altered mental state, about half of whom were under age 60.

3. Patients with altered mental states either had encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or encephalopathy, a general term for a disease that impairs brain function, according to STAT.

4. Ten patients were diagnosed with psychosis; six had a dementia-like syndrome; and seven had other psychiatric disorders, such as mania or catatonia.

These findings likely represent the most severe cases of neuropsychiatric complications, since the study only looked at hospitalized patients. However, the findings could help inform next steps in COVID-19 neuroscience-related research and health policy planning, study authors said.

To view the full study, click here.


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