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A study has revealed that people who have had Covid-19 infection are at a higher risk of a long-term brain injury, a year later compared to the people who have never been infected with the virus. The year-long study, published in Nature Medicine, assessed brain health across 44 different disorders using medical records without patient identifiers from millions of US veterans.

Brain and other neurological disorders occurred in 7 per cent more of those who had been infected with Covid compared with a similar group of veterans who had never been infected. That translates into roughly 6.6 million Americans who had brain impairments linked with their Covid infections, the study said.

"The results show the devastating long-term effects of Covid-19," senior author Dr Ziyad Al-Aly of Washington University School of Medicine said in a statement.

The medical records of 154,000 US veterans, who had tested positive for Covid from 1 March, 2020 to Jan 15, 2021, were taken for the study. Their samples were compared with those of 5.6 million patients who did not have Covid during the same time frame. Another group was of 5.8 million people from the time just before the pandemic began.

Al-Aly said his study included both hospitalised and non-hospitalised patients. Among Covid patients, memory impairments which are also known as brain fog was the most common symptom. People who had Covid had a 77 per cent risk of developing brain fog. People who were infected with the virus were also 50 per cent more likely to have an ischemic stroke. Ischemic stroke is caused by blood clots, compared with the never-infected group.

Those who had Covid were 80 per cent more likely to have seizures, 43 per cenr more likely to have mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression, 35 per cent more likely to have headaches and 42 per cent more likely to suffer movement disorders, such as tremors, compared with the control groups, the study read.

“Given the colossal scale of the pandemic, meeting these challenges requires urgent and coordinated - but, so far, absent - global, national and regional response strategies," Al-Aly said.

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