Risk of neurologic disorders in US veterans rose in year after COVIDThe risk of a range of neurologic conditions rose significantly in the year after COVID-19 infection among a group of US veterans—regardless of whether they had required hospitalization, according to a study published yesterday in Nature Medicine.Researchers at the Veterans Affairs St.
Louis Healthcare System and Washington University used federal data to estimate the risk and incidence of new neurologic disorders in 154,068 COVID-19 survivors, 5,638,795 contemporary controls, and 5,859,621 prepandemic controls.Most participants were White men, with an average age of 62 years.
Most were unvaccinated because the study period, March 2020 to January 2021, predated wide vaccine availability. It also preceded the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants.The researchers found a 42% increased risk of any neurologic condition, such as ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke (50% increase), cognitive and memory disorders (77%), epilepsy (80%), headache (35%), movement disorders (42%), and mental illness (43%).COVID-19 patients also had 2 more cases Alzheimer's disease per 1,000 people than controls. "It's unlikely that someone who has had COVID-19 will just get Alzheimer's out of the blue," senior author Ziyad Al-Aly, MD, said in a Washington University press release. "But what we suspect is happening is that people who have a predisposition to Alzheimer's may be pushed over the edge by COVID, meaning they're on a faster track to develop the disease.
It's rare but concerning."Al-Aly said neurologic problems are developing in previously healthy COVID-19 patients and those with mild infections. "It doesn't matter if you are young or old, female or male, or what your race is," he