Research from the University of California, San Francisco draws interesting claims that may link mild COVID symptoms to teenage psychiatric illness. Julio Licinio discusses the evidence as published in JAMA Neurology:
Researchers are now tapping into a new symptom of COVID-19 infection. In particular, the recent brief report published in JAMA Neurology suggests that developing a psychiatric illness may be a symptom of mild COVID-19. At least in the teenage population, the UCSF doctors are setting out to suggest.
After observation of 3 teenage subjects who developed sudden mental health conditions after exhibiting mild COVID-19 symptoms, researchers are grabbing at a link. But is there enough evidence to cling on to?
From the perspective of a psychiatry professional like Julio Licinio, this is simply not enough to go on. Three subjects makes for quite the small pool of information. Furthermore, there isn’t a whole lot of evidence to go off on in the first place. The study notes that it has been unclear what actually caused these 3 teenage subjects to develop psychiatric illnesses. From reading the study, Licinio is unable to detect any information on other variables at play. The link, unfortunately, is not strengthened by any solid evidence or information.
But, that isn’t to say Licinio is against opening a conversation on psychiatric illnesses and COVID-19. That discussion, in his professional opinion, still needs to take place. At the minimum, it is clear that the overall public health crisis that is the COVID pandemic has had psychological impacts on many people. This comes as no surprise, considering the general uprooting of everyday life that has occurred as a result of the pandemic itself.