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News Picture: Even in Moderate Cases, COVID-19 Is Causing Long-Term Neurological Harm

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 9, 2020 (HealthDay News)

COVID-19 could cause a variety of neurological issues, even in sufferers who will not be critically ailing, a brand new examine reveals.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, it is turn into clear that an infection with SARS-CoV-2 can have an effect on organ programs all through the physique. That consists of issues affecting the mind and nervous system — starting from altered psychological states to seizures to strokes.

In the brand new examine, researchers discovered that amongst COVID sufferers at their safety-net hospital, neurological issues ran the gamut. And they had been even seen in individuals who had been extra reasonably ailing with the an infection.

Safety-net hospitals are obligated, by mandate or mission, to deal with folks no matter their skill to pay. So they sometimes have a big share of sufferers who’re low-income, minority and both uninsured or on Medicaid.

Those Americans have additionally been among the many hardest-hit by the COVID pandemic.

It’s unclear at this level whether or not Black or Hispanic Americans are at elevated threat of neurologic issues, based on lead researcher Dr. Pria Anand, from Boston Medical Center.

But it is necessary to doc how the issues are displaying up in hospitals serving low-income and minority sufferers, she mentioned.

Anand and her colleagues studied the information of greater than 900 COVID sufferers handled at their hospital between April 15 and July 1. Of that group, 74 wanted a neurological seek the advice of or admission.

Overall, 18 sufferers suffered a stroke, 15 had seizures, and 26 had been recognized with encephalopathy — a broad time period for mind dysfunction, together with confusion and delirium.

Some different sufferers developed nerve injury or motion issues. They included 5 with myoclonus, the place muscle tissue twitch or jerk involuntarily.

One affected person confirmed indicators of autoimmune encephalitis, a uncommon situation the place the immune system assaults tissue within the spinal wire or mind, inflicting irritation. The affected person improved after therapy with anti-inflammatory corticosteroids.

In basic, neurological issues of COVID appear to fall into a number of totally different “buckets,” mentioned Anand, who can also be an assistant professor at Boston University School of Medicine.

Some issues, she mentioned, are associated to an overactive immune response — resembling Guillain-Barre syndrome, the place the immune system assaults the physique’s nerves.

In different instances, Anand mentioned, issues come up just because a affected person is critically ailing within the hospital, and generally on a ventilator.

COVID does have an effect on the vascular system in some sufferers — making the blood extra susceptible to clotting, for instance. And that may be behind issues like stroke.

Finally, Anand mentioned, it is potential the virus itself invades the central nervous system in some sufferers. That’s generally seen with sure different viruses, she famous — resembling herpes and cytomegalovirus.

The findings, printed Dec. 9 within the journal Neurology Clinical Practice, are primarily based on sufferers seen earlier within the pandemic.

At this level, docs have realized extra about managing COVID, in methods that may assist stop neurologic issues, mentioned Dr. Aaron Glatt, a spokesperson for the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

That consists of utilizing drugs like corticosteroids and remdesivir, and medicines to stop blood clots.

Glatt identified that the sufferers on this examine had been a choose group — these sick sufficient to require a neurological seek the advice of within the hospital. And of the 74 sufferers, 47 had a historical past of neurological circumstances.

“This isn’t looking at all comers,” famous Glatt, who wasn’t a part of the examine.

That mentioned, he additionally harassed that even folks with milder COVID, who by no means enter the hospital, can have lasting neurologic signs. Doctors worldwide have been reporting seeing sufferers with lingering fatigue and what’s been dubbed “brain fog” — issues with reminiscence, focus and different psychological abilities.


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“There’s a false sense of security among younger people, that COVID is only a risk to older people who end up in the hospital,” Glatt mentioned.

“I’ve taken care of many patients in their 30s and 40s,” he added, “and they were very sick.”

Anand agreed that folks needs to be conscious that loss of life just isn’t the one unhealthy final result of COVID, and other people can face tough recoveries.

In her examine group, 10 sufferers died within the hospital. And whereas most left the hospital, the bulk had been launched to expert nursing amenities or different care to proceed their restoration.

“Even after you leave the hospital,” Anand mentioned, “there can be a long road ahead.”

More data

The Mayo Clinic has extra on COVID’s long-term results.

SOURCES: Pria Anand, M.D., assistant professor, neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, and chief, division of hospitalist neurology, Boston Medical Center; Aaron Glatt, M.D., chief, infectious ailments and hospital epidemiologist, Mount Sinai South Nassau, Oceanside, N.Y., and professor, drugs, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City, and spokesperson, Infectious Diseases Society of America, Arlington, Va.; Neurology Clinical Practice, Dec. 9, 2020, on-line

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