One-Third Of COVID Patients Diagnosed With Psychiatric Or Neurological Problems Post-Infection

Dr. Mallika Marshall reports.

Video Transcript

- A new study finds that a third of COVID patients are diagnosed with a neurological or psychiatric problem in the six months after infection. WBZ's Dr. Mallika Marshall joins us now live. And doctor, this is more evidence that one, this disease is mysterious and affects people in myriad ways. But also, that it can lead to long term complications.

MALLIKA MARSHALL: Yeah, that's right, Lisa. These were researchers at the University of Oxford. And they looked at data on almost 240,000 people who had been diagnosed with COVID-19. And they compared them to patients with other respiratory illnesses like the flu, for example. And they found in the six months after COVID-19, about one in three patients received a neurological or psychological diagnosis. About 13%, it was the first time they had received that diagnosis.

The most common things were anxiety, mood disorders, substance use disorders. But in a very small percentage of patients, there were also strokes, and dementia, and other serious neurological problems. And they were more common among the people who had been diagnosed with COVID-19 versus, again, things like influenza.

So it means that we need to take a closer look as to why this is happening. How can we identify patients who are at risk? And how can we better treat these patients?

- Feels like we're going to be studying this for years. Doctor, patients who immediately develop itching or hives right after they get their first dose of a COVID vaccine may still be able to safely get a second dose?

MALLIKA MARSHALL: That's right. I mean, let me say that immediate allergic or hypersensitivity reactions after getting a COVID-19 vaccine is still incredibly rare. But when it does happen after the first dose of a two-dose regimen, patients are often told not to get that second dose. But according to a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, maybe we don't need to give them that advice.

That's because researchers in New York looked at two patients who had had one of those hypersensitivity reactions. And they gave them their second dose of the Moderna vaccine, but this time, as five shots spaced 15 minutes apart with slightly increasing doses. One patient didn't get any symptoms at all. The other patient did develop some itching, but it was self-resolved. It didn't require any treatment. So it suggests that some of these patients maybe could benefit from being referred to an allergist before they are outright told that they can't get that second dose.

- Yeah. Five shots sounds painful, but definitely worth it. Dr. Mallika Marshall, thank you so much. Dr. Mallika offers her best advice, but as always, consult your personal doctor before you make any decisions about your health. If you have a question for Dr. Mallika, there are three ways to reach her. Email Dr.Mallika@cbs.com, Twitter @MallikaMarshall. You can also Facebook Message her. Dr. Mallika Marshall.