Covid and Schizophrenia: Why this death group may increase the risk of brain disease

Most of the time, the voices don’t bother Keris Myrick’s head to him. They sit back and say nice things. But sometimes they sound loud – like when a disease has struck the earth.

“That’s when things go, very fast and they’re seen as very bad. That’s when it’s coming,” said Myrick, who suffered from schizophrenia 25 years ago. “The attacking voices called me an idiot. I was melted down here in my house. I just disappeared.”

She was able to comfort herself and calm the voices, and when the illness was over, she kept them at work: continuing her work for a field, hosting a podcast, and writing a children’s book. He did, but he was worried about others like him.

“People with schizophrenia are not really considered to be‘ the most vulnerable ’people to be treated or talked about in the same way as people with other medical conditions and are more likely to years, ”said Myrick, who lives in Los. Aleele. “So we left.”

This decline was reported according to new data published in JAMA Psychiatry which showed people with schizophrenia were nearly three times as likely to die from covid-19 as the general population. They are more likely to die of disease than people with cancer, heart disease or any other cause outside of old age.

“The first response people have to this is one of disbelief,” said Katlyn Nemani, a New York University medical neuropsychiatrist and lead professor of the research.

Some researchers have previously questioned whether the high rate of death can be attributed to poor physical health in people with schizophrenia or to their difficulty in accessing health care. But Nemani’s research was recorded for those reasons: All patients were tested and treated for covid, and they were treated from the same doctors in the same health care system.

Then studies from countries with global health care systems – the UK, Denmark, Israel, South Korea – began with different findings: an almost three times higher mortality rate for people with schizophrenia. A recent study from the UK, published in December 2021, found the problem to be even greater.

“You have to think, is there something in the disease itself that is carrying this?” Nemani asked.

Immune dysfunction that puts a strain on the covid in people with schizophrenia can trigger their psychotic symptoms, Nemani said. This shows that schizophrenia is not a disease of the brain, but a disease of the immune system, he said.

Although researchers have previously explored this concept, the data from the disease has shed light on the new path, opening doors for insights.

“This is a very rare opportunity to study the relationship between the immune system and psychiatric illness, by looking at the effects of one disease at a time,” Nemani said. “It’s possible to lead actions to improve health conditions related to the disease, but it’s also about how we understand the disease itself and what we can do to treat it.”

In the long run, it could lead to new immunological drugs being more effective than current antipsychotic drugs.

Now, advocates want information about the problem to be shared and kept in a safe place. They want people with schizophrenia to know that they and their caregivers are the right people to take care of them. Before the disease, they thought people with schizophrenia would have it first.

“It’s hard,” says Brandon Staglin, who has schizophrenia and is the president of One Mind, a mental health advocacy group based in the Napa Valley.

When he and other supporters first became aware of Nemani’s data in early 2021, they began hiring health officials to get the vaccines first. They want the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to add schizophrenia to its list of high risk factors for covid, similar to what is done for heart disease and diabetes.

But they heard the drumming.

“It’s not fair,” Staglin said. “Obviously, schizophrenia is a high risk.”

In other countries, including the UK and Germany, people with serious mental illnesses have been treated for vaccines since the launch began in February 2021. In the US, however, Not when people had the stimulants in October 2021. The CDC added schizophrenia to the first list.

“We’re excited when it comes, but we want to act fast,” Staglin said.

Such is always the case with mental illness, Myrick said.

“It’s like we’re going to remember people,” he said. “It was just like, ‘Yeah, yeah right, I forgot about that.'”

This is part of the story of the reunion KQED, NPRand KHN.

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