About 80% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients develop a neurological conditions such as memory issues or brain damage, study finds
- A new study looked at COVID-19 patients and any issues they were facing that could be side-effects of a neurological condition
- Researchers found eight in 10 people hospitalized with the virus suffer a neurological condition such as cute encephalopathy, and strokes
- Those with a COVID-caused condition were six times more likely to die of it than hospitalized patients without the condition
- The long-term effects COVID-19 has on its survivors is still largely unknown but scientists hope to determine how long neurological symptoms last
A majority of hospitalized COVID-19 patients develop neurological problems, a new study suggests.
Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh surveyed thousands of former COVID-19 patients from around the world on symptoms they were experiencing post-hospitalization.
They found that 80 percent developed conditions such as being in a coma, suffering a stroke or even damage to the brain.
What’s more, this group of hospitalized patients were six times more likely to die because than hospitalized patients without neurological problems.
For the study, published in JAMA Network Open, the team surveyed 3,744 people COVID-19 patients aged 18 and older.
Researchers found that up to 80 percent of people who were hospitalized due to COVID-19 may have contracted a longterm neurological condition (file photo)
The participants self reported any potential issues they were facing that could be side-effects of a neurological condition.
Eight in 10 patients had at least one of the conditions or reported some sort of side-effects – with some being found to have multiple.
A total of 37 percent reported frequent headaches and 26 percent reported either a loss of taste or smell.
Nearly half, 49 percent, of participants were found to have acute encephalopathy, a condition that alters someone’s brain structure.
Going into a coma, 17 percent, or experiencing a stroke (6 percent) were common conditions as well.
‘We expected there’d be some, but that was a lot,’ said Dt Sherry Chou, lead author of the study, professor at the University of Pittsburg, said in a press release.
‘These are people who are confused, who are delirious, who are not themselves.’
‘They have altered sensorium, memory problems, and about every other person hospitalized with COVID-19 had that condition.’
Researchers are still unsure how COVID-19 manifests in this way, and why it can cause so many conditions in so many parts of the body.
Almost half of recovered COVID patients in the study had acute encephalopathy, a condition that alters someone’s brain structure
Separate from neurological issues, some people develop myocarditis, heart inflammation, after having the virus.
Others even end up bed-ridden for as long as a year with a condition called ‘long-haul COVID’, where they experience incredible fatigue and other symptoms of the virus long term.
More than 33.6 million Americans have contracted the virus since the pandemic began in spring 2020.
While a vast majority have recovered, finding out what the virus did to the bodies of the people it infected will be a challenge for the scientific community in the years to come.
Chou says that, in the future, she hopes to conduct research that answer how long neurological symptoms last in COVID-19 patients and what are the long-term effects.
‘And the key question is: “How do we treat it?'” she said.