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Neurological, Neuropsychiatric Symptoms Common in COVID-19

THURSDAY, June 10, 2021 -- Neurological and neuropsychiatric manifestations of COVID-19 are varied and common, according to a review published online June 4 in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

Jonathan P. Rogers, M.B., B.Chir., from University College London, and colleagues estimated point prevalences for 20 neurological and neuropsychiatric manifestations of COVID-19 in a systematic review and meta-analysis. A total of 147 studies, reporting on 99,905 infected patients, were included.

The researchers found that the symptoms with the highest prevalence were anosmia, weakness, fatigue, dysgeusia, myalgia, depression, headache, anxiety, and altered mental status (43.1, 40.0, 37.8, 37.2, 25.1, 23.0, 20.7, 15.9, and 8.2 percent, respectively). For most clinical manifestations, heterogeneity was high. In severity subgroup analysis, headache, myalgia, and anosmia were more common in mixed nonsevere and outpatient populations, and dysgeusia was more common in mixed nonsevere populations; no differences between the groups were seen for fatigue.

"We had expected that neurological and psychiatric symptoms would be more common in severe COVID-19 cases, but instead we found that some symptoms appeared to be more common in mild cases. It appears that COVID-19 affecting mental health and the brain is the norm, rather than the exception," Rogers said in a statement. "Many factors could contribute to neurological and psychiatric symptoms in the early stages of infection with COVID-19, including inflammation, impaired oxygen delivery to the brain, and psychological factors."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical, technology, and publishing industries. One author filed a patent for a test for bacterial meningitis that is based on a blood test.

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