Covid 19 may lead to brain damage; Study


A new study has revealed that coronavirus could cause severe neurological complications such as inflammation, delirium and psychosis.

The researchers at the University College London came across a rare fatal inflammatory condition called as acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) that was seen to increase in prevalence due to the coronavirus pandemic. Co-author of the study Dr Michael Zandi was quoted as saying that they found an unexpected number of covid patients having neurological conditions like brain inflammation.

Zandi said that everyone should be more vigilant and also look out for these complications in people who were infected with the deadly virus. The researcher also warned that it should be seen if this situation was similar to the same condition of encephalitis lethargica outbreak in the 1920s and 1930s and the 1918 influenza pandemic.

The researchers analysed neurological symptoms of 43 people, who were aged between 16 and 85 years treated at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, UCLH. They were either suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

In the study, they came across ten cases of transient encephalopathies with delirium. They also noticed 12 cases of brain inflammation and eight cases of strokes. Some eight others were identified with having nerve damage, especially Guillain-Barre syndrome (usually occurring after a respiratory or gastrointestinal infection).

In nine of the 12 cases with brain inflammation conditions, they were found to have ADEM. This condition is generally seen in children. The researchers said that they normally come across one adult with ADEM per month. But during the study period, they came across at least one person with that condition per week, which has increased the concern.

They said that they have not found the virus causing COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2 in the cerebrospinal brain fluid of any patients. This showed that the virus did not attack the brain directly, they said and added further studies were needed to see why these patients were affected with brain issues.

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