Researchers: Coronavirus May Affect The Brain More Than We Thought

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CINCINNATI, OHIO (VINnews) —University of Cincinnati researchers in conjunction with three Italian universities studied neuroimaging and neurological symptoms in patients with COVID-19. The new study may shed light on the virus’s impact on the central nervous system, which until now has not been properly researched, according to a report in Newswise.

The findings, published in the journal Radiology, reveal that altered mental status and stroke are the most common neurological symptoms in COVID-19 patients.

“Studies have described the spectrum of chest imaging features of COVID-19, but only a few case reports have described COVID-19 associated neuroimaging findings,” says lead author Abdelkader Mahammedi, MD, assistant professor of radiology at UC and a UC Health neuroradiologist. “To date, this is the largest and first study in literature that characterizes the neurological symptoms and neuroimaging features in COVID-19 patients. These newly discovered patterns could help doctors better and sooner recognize associations with COVID-19 and possibly provide earlier interventions.”

Researchers investigated neurological symptoms and imaging findings in patients from three major institutions in Italy: University of Brescia, Brescia; University of Eastern Piedmont, Novara; and University of Sassari, Sassari. The study included images from 725 hospitalized patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection between Feb. 29 and April 4. Of these, 108 (15%) had serious neurological symptoms and underwent brain or spine imaging. Most patients (99%) had brain CT scans, while 16% had head and neck CT imaging and 18% had brain MRI.

Investigators found that 59% of patients reported an altered mental state and 31% experienced stroke, which were the most common neurological symptoms. Patients also experienced headache (12%), seizure (9%) and dizziness (4%), among other symptoms.

The worrying aspect of the findings was that many patients experiencing such symptoms had no known previous medical history.

“Of these 108 patients, 31, or 29%, had no known past medical history. Of these, aged 16 to 62 years, 10 experienced stroke and two had brain bleeds,” Mahammedi says. “Seventy-one, or 66%, of these patients had no findings on a brain CT, out of which 27 of them (35%) brain MRI showed abnormalities.”

He adds that altered mental status was more common in older adults.

While altered mental status and stroke are the most prevalent in patients, Mahammedi says the study reveals that there are other conditions to be on the lookout for.

“This topic definitely needs more research,” he says. “Currently, we have a poor understanding of the neurological symptoms in COVID-19 patients, whether these are arising from critical illness or from direct central nervous system invasion of SARS-CoV-2. We hope further study on this subject will help in uncovering clues and providing better interventions for patients.”

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Based on many posts here on this brutal Police murder of an innocent Black man condemned by All America (From Rush Limbaugh to Bush) COVID did “Effect the BRAIN” especially in Boro Park where so many of the New Commentators showed up in the last 3 months. Since Boro Park was one of the most effected by Corona in the USA no wonder all this Meshugayim showed up. Hatzolah did a GREAT job. Now they need to start a New Division in Boro Park to help this Victims who,s BRAIN WAS EFFECTED.

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