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Covid-19 increases risk of neurodegenerative diseases: Study


Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 27

Persons detected with Covid 19 are at a heightened risk of specific neurodegenerative diseases, a new research on long-term effects of Sars-Cov 2 infection has shown.

Presented this week at the eighth European Academy of Neurology (EAN) Congress, held at Vienna, the study analysed health records of over half of the Danish population and found that those who had tested Covid positive were at an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and ischaemic stroke.

Of the 9,19,731 individuals who were tested for Covid within the study, researchers found that the 43,375 who tested positive had a 3.5 times increased risk of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, 2.6 times with Parkinson’s disease, 2.7 times with ischaemic stroke and a 4.8 times increased with intracerebral haemorrhage (bleeding in the brain).

Previous studies have also provided evidence for substantial neurological and psychiatric morbidity in the six months after Covid infection.

A study published in ‘The Lancet’ in April 2021 showed risks were greatest in, but not limited to, patients who had severe Covid. It studied 2,36,379 patients diagnosed with Covid and found the estimated incidence of a neurological or psychiatric diagnosis among these persons in the following six months to be 33·62 per cent.

The Denmark study analysed in and outpatients in the country between February 2020 and November 2021, as well as influenza patients from the corresponding pre-pandemic period.

“More than two years after the onset of the pandemic, the precise nature and evolution of the effects of Covid on neurological disorders remained uncharacterised,” said Pardis Zarifkar, lead author from the Department of Neurology, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Vulnerable to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s

Of the 9,19,731 individuals who were tested for Covid within the study, researchers found that the 43,375 who tested positive had a 3.5 times increased risk of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, 2.6 times with Parkinson’s disease, 2.7 times with ischaemic stroke and a 4.8 times increased with intracerebral haemorrhage (bleeding in the brain).

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