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Current Affairs

Covid-19 linked brain damage

Date: 10 July 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Scientists have warned of a potential wave of coronavirus-related brain damage that can lead to severe neurological complications, including inflammation, psychosis and delirium.

 

Background

A study by researchers described 43 cases of patients with COVID-19 who suffered either temporary brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage or other serious brain effects.

 

Details

  • The research adds to recent studies which also found the disease can damage the brain.

  • Scientists are expecting an epidemic on a large scale of brain damage linked to the pandemic perhaps similar to the encephalitis lethargica outbreak in the 1920s and 1930s after the 1918 influenza pandemic.

  • COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, is largely a respiratory illness that affects the lungs, but neuroscientists and specialist brain doctors say emerging evidence of its impact on the brain is concerning.

  • During the course of study, the patients who had brain inflammation were diagnosed with a rare condition called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) which is more usually seen in children and can be triggered by viral infections.

  • Since the disease has only been around for a matter of months, we might not yet know what long-term damage COVID-19 can cause.

  • Doctors need to be aware of possible neurological effects, as early diagnosis can improve patient outcomes.

  • The emerging evidence underlined the need for large, detailed studies and global data collection to assess how common such neurological and psychiatric complications were.