Coronavirus infection poses a global threat to the entire nervous system. This was reported by RIA Novosti with reference to scientists from Northwestern University of the United States who compiled an overview of the neurological symptoms of infected patients.
Dr. Igor Koralnik, head of the university’s department of neuroinfectious diseases and general neurology and professor of neurology, who is also the author of an article published in the journal Annals of Neurology, together with his colleagues conducted a retrospective analysis of patients who were diagnosed with coronavirus. This study was conducted to determine the frequency and type of neurological complications, as well as the response to treatment.
“About half of hospitalized patients have neurological manifestations of COVID-19, which include headache, dizziness, decreased alertness, difficulty concentrating, olfaction and taste disorders, cramps, strokes, weakness, and muscle pain,” the university said in a press release. The authors of the work believe that the disease can affect the entire nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord and nerves, as well as muscles.
Dr. Coralnik notes that there are a number of reasons why COVID-19 can cause neurological dysfunction. Since the disease can affect several organs, including the lungs, kidneys, and heart, the brain can also suffer from lack of oxygenation or blood clotting disorders, which can lead to ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke, the professor claims. Moreover, he clarifies, the virus can cause a direct infection of the brain and the lining of the brain. The immune system’s response to infection can cause inflammation that damages the brain and nerves.
“This is important for the general public and doctors to know, because SARS-CoV-2 infection may initially have neurological symptoms before it develops a fever, cough, or breathing problems,” the doctor said. The press release also notes that patient monitoring will continue to determine if problems with the nervous system are temporary or permanent.