COVID-19 side effects are not limited to just damage to the lungs, and doctors in the UK have been studying the effects of the virus on patients’ brains. The initial work looks only at 125 patients, so it does not provide a large enough sample to draw any definitive conclusions, but it does demonstrate that there may be a connection between COVID-19 and ailments like confusion, psychosis, and strokes. While many people are focused on the more obvious problems, this group of doctors is interested in understanding the effects on the mind.
To do this, neurologists, psychiatrists, and stroke physicians (as well as some other doctors) provided data on their COVID-19 patients in a survey.By focusing on doctors from these fields, the survey meant that the patients already had some data on psychological states. This included the 125 patients, and of those 77 exhibited blood flow interruptions in the brain, usually caused by a blood clot. Blood clots are a known complication of COVID-19, and strokes are fairly common in young people who contract COVID-19. Based on the survey, roughly a third of the patients experienced a shift in mental state, including confusion, personality change or depression, and roughly half of those were under 60 years old. While there is still a lot to learn, this does provide some initial data to help doctors look for other potential problems caused by the virus.
Scientists and medical professionals have a lot to learn about COVID-19, so there will continue to be a lot of emerging information over the coming years. Check out Strokes and Mental State Changes Hint at How COVID-19 Harms the Brain for more details on the latest findings on the connection between the virus and mental health.