A new study finds that adult patients with “major life stressors” were at least twice as likely to struggle with depression, brain fog, fatigue, sleep problems and other long-term COVID-19 symptoms.
The death of a loved one, financial or food insecurity, or a newly developed disability were some of the strongest predictors – present in more than 50 percent – of whether a patient hospitalized for COVID-19 would experience prolonged COVID symptoms. A year later, the study said.
analysis, published in Journal of Neuroscience (JNS), confirmed the contribution of traditional factors to long-term COVID risk as shown by previous studies – older age, level of disability to begin with, and a more severe initial case COVID-19The study said.
“Our study is unique in that it explores the impact of life stressors – along with demographic trends and neurological events – as predictors of long-term cognitive and functional disabilities that affect quality of life in a large population. affect,” said lead study author Jennifer A. Frontera, NYU School of Medicine.
“Treatments that reduce the trauma of the most stress-inducing life events should be a central part of the treatment of protracted COVID, with more research needed to validate the best approaches,” Frontera said.
In an analysis that compared factors against each other for their contribution to worse outcomes, life stressors including financial insecurity, food insecurity, death of close contact, and new disability were the strongest independent predictors of long-term COVID-19 symptoms .
These same stressors predicted poorer functional status, depression, fatigue, sleep scores and decreased ability to participate in activities of daily living, such as feeding, dressing, and bathing.
The research used standard telephone survey equipment in the field to measure levels of daily functioning, clear thinking (cognition), anxiety, depression, fatigue and sleep quality,
The team conducted a follow-up effort within NYU Langone Health between March 10, 2020 and May 20, 2020, with each of 790 patients six months and one year after COVID-19 hospitalization.
Of these surviving patients, 451 (57 percent) completed the 6-month and/or 12-month follow-up, and 17 percent of them died between discharge and the 12-month follow-up and 51 percent had a significant life expectancy. reported stress. in 12 months.
Gender was also a contributor, as previous studies have found that women in general are more susceptible to, for example, autoimmune diseases that can have an impact on outcomes. Additionally, uncontrolled mood disorders may be exposed by epidemic-related stressors.
A second study, led by Frontera and colleagues, and published online September 29, 2022 in PLOS ONE, found that patients with long-term COVID neurological problems could be divided into three symptom groups.
For the PLOS ONE study, the research team collected data on symptoms, treatments received and outcomes for 12 months after hospitalization with COVID-19, with treatment success measured again by standard metrics.
There were three newly identified disease clusters: Cluster 1 – few symptoms (usually headache) who received few medical interventions, Cluster 2 – multiple symptoms including anxiety and depression, who received multiple treatments including antidepressants for psychological therapy, Cluster 3 – Predominantly pulmonary symptoms such as shortness of breath.
Many patients also complained of headaches and cognitive symptoms, and most received physical therapy.
The most severely affected patients (symptom cluster 2) had higher rates of disability, worse measures of anxiety, depression, fatigue and sleep disorders,
The study noted that patients whose treatment included psychiatric treatment had an improvement in symptoms, compared with 97 percent who received primary physical or occupational therapy, and 83 percent who underwent some intervention.
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