We’re all aware by now that contracting COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus, can cause fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. But doctors in one study found that the virus can have extreme implications for brain health, leading to stroke, and in a few cases first-episode psychosis.
As reported by The Guardian, the study was done in the U.K. based on doctor’s observations of COVID-positive patients.
“There have been growing reports of an association between Covid-19 infection and possible neurological or psychiatric complications, but until now these have typically been limited to studies of 10 patients or fewer,” said Benedict Michael, the lead author of the study, from the University of Liverpool. “Ours is the first nationwide study of neurological complications associated with Covid-19, but it is important to note that it is focused on cases that are severe enough to require hospitalization.”
Of 125 cases reported by doctors in the study, 39 of the patients experienced “confusion or changes in behavior reflecting an altered mental state”. Twenty-three of those patients went on to be diagnosed with psychiatric conditions including psychosis and mood disorders.
While it cannot completely be proven at this time whether all of these brain complications were previously undiagnosed, studies like this provide essential information for understanding the long-term effects COVID-19 can have on the human body.
“It reminds us that Covid-19 is more than a respiratory infection and that we need to consider its link to a variety of other illnesses,” said Michael Sharpe, professor of psychological medicine at the University of Oxford.