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Do Anxiety and Depression Predict Persistent Physical Symptoms After a Severe COVID-19 Episode? A Prospective Study, 2021, Bottemanne et al

Discussion in 'Psychosomatic research - ME/CFS and Long Covid' started by ola_cohn, Dec 5, 2021.

  1. ola_cohn

    ola_cohn Established Member (Voting Rights)

    Background: Persistent physical symptoms are common after a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) episode, but their pathophysiological mechanisms remain poorly understood. In this study, we aimed to explore the association between anxiety and depression at 1-month after acute infection and the presence of fatigue, dyspnea, and pain complaints at 3-month follow-up.

    Methods: We conducted a prospective study in patients previously hospitalized for COVID-19 followed up for 3 months. The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HAD-S) was administered by physicians at 1-month follow-up, and the presence of fatigue, dyspnea, and pain complaints was assessed at both 1 month and 3 months. Multivariable logistic regressions explored the association between anxiety and depression subscores and the persistence of each of the physical symptom at 3 months.

    Results: A total of 84 patients were included in this study (Median age: 60 years, interquartile range: 50.5–67.5 years, 23 women). We did not find any significant interaction between anxiety and the presence of fatigue, dyspnea, or pain complaints at 1 month in predicting the persistence of these symptoms at 3 months (all p ≥ 0.36). In contrast, depression significantly interacted with the presence of pain at 1 month in predicting the persistence of pain at 3 months (OR: 1.60, 95% CI: 1.02–2.51, p = 0.039), with a similar trend for dyspnea (OR: 1.51, 95% CI: 0.99–2.28, p = 0.052).

    Discussion and Conclusion: Contrary to anxiety, depression after an acute COVID-19 episode may be associated with and increased risk of some persistent physical symptoms, including pain and dyspnea.

    Hugo Bottemanne, Clément Gouraud, Jean-Sébastien Hulot, Anne Blanchard, Brigitte Ranque, Khadija Lahlou-Laforêt, Frédéric Limosin, Sven Günther, David Lebeaux and Cédric Lemogne on behalf of The French COVID Study Group

    Open access full text
  2. Hutan

    Hutan Moderator Staff Member

    Aotearoa New Zealand
    It's very small to be a prospective study of persistent symptoms after Covid-19 infection. A study these authors quote found 14% of patients had persistent symptoms at 3 months. With only 84 participants in this study, that's not many people with persistent symptoms at 3 months, especially not with the three symptoms this study looked at.

    Also, this sample was hospitalised patients, mostly men and mostly relatively old (mean age 60). That limits the extrapolation of the findings to general populations, and to ME/CFS-like Long Covid a lot. It's likely that this sample had high rates of cardiopulmonary and other tissue damage.*

    Also of note is the fact that levels of depression and anxiety weren't assessed prior to Covid-19 infection. The assessment was done 1 months and 3 months after hospitalisation.

    The description of the losses to follow-up include a lot of death. Worry and sadness would be entirely normal responses to many of the circumstances people found themselves in.

    So, it doesn't sound as though any of the variables, not anxiety, not depression, not even fatigue or breathlessness or pain at 1 month predicted any symptom at 3 months. Anxiety did not interact with fatigue, breathlessness or pain to predict persistence of the symptoms. Depression did not interact with fatigue or breathlessness or pain to predict the persistence of symptoms. Only one relationship tested turned out to be statistically significant and that was depression interacting with pain to predict the persistence of pain at 3 months - and that was only just significant (p=0.039). They note that neither depression alone nor pain alone predicted pain at 3 months.

    So, they tried lots of things and found one marginally significant result. It's not convincing. There's also some nasty BPS carry-on ("Second, anxiety and depression may share some vulnerability factors with functional somatic symptoms (e.g., female gender, high level of neuroticism").

    All in all, this is a study that is probably not worth spending time on. Unfortunately, the indications are that these researchers will continue to milk the cash cow of trying to relate mental health issues to post-Covid persistent symptoms.

    * This point has not escaped them. They see opportunities to investigate cohorts that will, they believe, provide richer pickings.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2021
    Ebb Tide, Simon M, Cheshire and 13 others like this.
  3. rvallee

    rvallee Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Some of the same people that did the other "study" asserting LC is a belief. Ranque has been pushing this very hard in France and is (or was) on the government LC workgroup.

    I have no idea how "anxiety" and "depression", however ill-defined, following the infection could be a predicting factor. Things happening after usually do not cause something. And by usually I mean they literally can't because of the linear passage of time. In this household, we respect the linear passage of time. Hey, it's not as if separating cause and effect was some big issue in science or anything like that.

    And also depression questionnaires do not differentiate from illness so basically depressed = ill for the most part. So that's double useless.

    However poor this study may be, I'm pretty sure it will be pushed hard. Looks like France is the new center of BPSland in the COVID era.
  4. Ebb Tide

    Ebb Tide Senior Member (Voting Rights)


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