Delhi, India: A large-scale observational study of over 1.25 million patient health records found that children infected with Covid-19 have an increased risk of cognitive deficit, insomnia, ischaemic stroke, nerve/psychotic disorders, and epilepsy or seizures, even months after infection.
Research published in The Lancet Psychiatry found that children’s post-Covid risk trajectories were distinct from those of adults.
Children infected with SARS-CoV-2 did not show an increased risk of developing mood or anxiety disorders in the six months following infection.
“an increased risk of cognitive deficit, insomnia, intracranial hemorrhage, ischaemic stroke, nerve, nerve root, and plexus disorders, psychotic disorders, and epilepsy or seizures,” however.
The risk horizon and time to equal incidence for cognitive deficit in children was fixed at 75 days, in contrast to adults (491 days).
The study concluded, “Children have a more benign overall profile of psychiatric risk than do adults and older adults,” but their sustained higher risk of some diagnoses is cause for concern.
Dementia, epilepsy, and seizures were among the most common neurological and psychiatric diagnoses given to older adults, and these conditions were strongly associated with an increased risk of death in both cohorts.
Risks of ischaemic stroke, epilepsy or seizures, cognitive deficit, insomnia, and anxiety disorders all went up and mortality rates went up shortly after the emergence of the delta variant.
The study, led by researchers from the University of Oxford in the UK, found that while the death rate was lower with Omicron than it had been prior to the variant’s emergence, the risks of neurological and psychiatric outcomes were unchanged.
An estimated 89 million patients’ health records were de-identified and pooled from hospital, primary care, and specialty care providers around the world for use in the observational study, which used the “TriNetX” electronic health records network (mostly from the US, but also from Australia, the UK, Spain, Bulgaria, India, Malaysia, and Taiwan).
The increased incidence of mood and anxiety disorders in people diagnosed with Covid-19 was found to be transitory, with no overall excess of these diagnoses compared with other respiratory infections, according to an analysis of retrospective cohort studies that spanned 2 years.
On the other hand, there was a consistent elevated risk of psychotic disorder, cognitive impairment, dementia, and epilepsy/seizures.
The researchers warned that the burden on the health-care system could continue even with variants that are less severe in other respects because of the similarities between the neurological and psychiatric outcomes during the Delta and Omicron waves.
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