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Prevalence of mental health conditions and brain fog in people with long COVID: A systematic review and meta-analysis

van der Feltz-Cornelis, Christina; Turk, Fidan; Sweetman, Jennifer; Khunti, Kamlesh; Gabbay, Mark; Shepherd, Jessie; Montgomery, Hugh; ... Banerjee, Amitava; + view all (2024) Prevalence of mental health conditions and brain fog in people with long COVID: A systematic review and meta-analysis. General Hospital Psychiatry , 88 pp. 10-22. 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2024.02.009. Green open access

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Long COVID can include impaired cognition ('brain fog'; a term encompassing multiple symptoms) and mental health conditions. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to estimate their prevalence and to explore relevant factors associated with the incidence of impaired cognition and mental health conditions. METHODS: Searches were conducted in Medline and PsycINFO to cover the start of the pandemic until August 2023. Included studies reported prevalence of mental health conditions and brain fog in adults with long COVID after clinically-diagnosed or PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. FINDINGS: 17 studies were included, reporting 41,249 long COVID patients. Across all timepoints (3-24 months), the combined prevalence of mental health conditions and brain fog was 20·4% (95% CI 11·1%-34·4%), being lower among those previously hospitalised than in community-managed patients(19·5 vs 29·7% respectively; p = 0·047). The odds of mental health conditions and brain fog increased over time and when validated instruments were used. Odds of brain fog significantly decreased with increasing vaccination rates (p = ·000). CONCLUSIONS: Given the increasing prevalence of mental health conditions and brain fog over time, preventive interventions and treatments are needed. Research is needed to explore underlying mechanisms that could inform further research in development of effective treatments. The reduced risk of brain fog associated with vaccination emphasizes the need for ongoing vaccination programs.

Type: Article
Title: Prevalence of mental health conditions and brain fog in people with long COVID: A systematic review and meta-analysis
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2024.02.009
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2024.02.009
Language: English
Additional information: © 2024 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Brain fog, COVID-19, Long COVID, Mental health conditions, Meta-analysis, SARS-CoV-2
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Medicine
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Health Informatics
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Medicine > Experimental and Translational Medicine
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10188813
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