COVID-19 can harm the brain in some cases: study


                                                                        by E.j. Mundell, Healthday Reporter                                                                                                                    

COVID-19 can harm the brain in some cases

(HealthDay) – The woman worked in the airline industry and was in her late 50s. She arrived at the Henry Ford healthcare system in Detroit with a cough, fever and mental confusion that had occurred in the previous three days.


Un test d'écouvillonnage nasal a montré qu'elle était infectée par le nouveau coronavirus. Et alors que les médecins tentaient de découvrir la cause de son «état mental altéré», les scanners cérébraux ont révélé une encéphalopathie - un gonflement dans certaines régions du cerveau - ainsi que de petites zones de mort des cellules cérébrales.

It is a relatively rare condition in adults and potentially fatal, according to a team led by radiologist Henry Ford, Dr. Brent Griffith.

” While [COVID-19] of patients with generally fever, shortness of breath and cough, neurological manifestations have been reported, although to a much lesser extent, “wrote the woman’s doctors in the April 2 issue of the journal. Radiology.

Their diagnosis: “Acute necrotizing hemorrhagic encephalopathy associated with COVID-19, a rare encephalopathy that has been associated with other viral infections. “

It is believed that the brain can be damaged by a viral infection whenever a patient’s immune system over-reacts to the virus. This overactive immune system triggers a “cytokine storm” – an overproduction of immune cells and their activating compounds, called cytokines.

In the case of the Detroit woman, an “intracranial” cytokine storm is believed to have occurred. This led to a break in the blood-brain barrier that normally protected the brain.

In an interview with the New york times, Dr. Elissa Fory, neurologist at Henry Ford, said that the rapid progression of women’s disease “may indicate that the virus can invade the brain directly in rare circumstances”. She added that the woman remains in critical condition in the hospital.

Dr. Anthony Geraci directs neuromuscular medicine at Northwell Health in Great Neck, N.Y. Reading the case of the woman, he said that the theory of the cytosine storm seems to be correct.

“Cytokines are chemicals that, among other functions, can cause small blood vessels to leak, which can cause small bleeds in many organs, including the brain. “Said Geraci.

Unfortunately, “there is no specific treatment currently,” he added, “and most experts agree that drugs to suppress the immune response could cause more harm than good, so the care of support for these patients is currently the only known treatment. “

The case of the Detroit woman is not unique – a large minority of COVID-19 patients present to hospitals with confusion, seizures and other signs of brain impairment, researchers say.

For example, in early March, a 74-year-old man in Boca Raton was brought to a hospital emergency room by family members. He was unable to speak and his arms and legs were fidgeting in what appeared to be a crisis. The man, who also suffered from Parkinson’s disease and chronic lung disease, was subsequently tested positive for COVID-19.

A report on the case was published online March 21 by neurologist Dr. Asia Filatov of Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.

According to Time, numerous other cases of COVID-19 patients with neurological symptoms – seizures, confusion and signs of encephalitis – have been reported in Italy and elsewhere.

In fact, Dr. Alessandro Padovani, from the University of Brescia in Italy, opened a special NeuroCovid unit to treat these types of patients, the Time reported.

Dr. Sherry H-Y. Chou is a neurologist at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She is also leading a research team studying the neurological effects of COVID-19.

“We absolutely must have a fact-finding mission, or else we fly blind,” Chou told the Time. “There is no brain fan. If the lungs are broken, we can put the patient on a ventilator and hope he recovers. We don’t have that luxury with the brain. “

But Dr. Robert Stevens, a neurologist at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, pointed out that neurological complications are rare for patients infected with the new coronavirus.

“Most people are alert and alert and seem neurologically normal,” he said. Time. As to why the brain can sometimes be affected, he said, “We are still at the very beginning, and we don’t really know for sure.”

He said it could be something as simple as impaired respiratory function by reducing the flow of oxygen to the brain. This “can have a significant impact on brain function and lead to states of confusion and lethargy,” said Stevens.

Neurological symptoms appear to be more common as COVID-19 becomes more severe, experts have noted. In fact, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently lists “new confusion or an inability to wake up” as a warning sign that anyone who is sick should seek medical attention immediately.

J'ai reçu un diagnostic de COVID-19. À quoi dois-je m'attendre?

Plus d'information: Les Centers for Disease Control and Prevention des États-Unis en ont plus sur le nouveau coronavirus.

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COVID-19 can harm the brain in some cases: study (2020, April 2)
retrieved April 3, 2020

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