Serious brain disorders in patients with mild Covid-19 symptoms, warn UK neurologists

KATHMANDU: UK neurologists have warned that serious and potentially deadly brain disorder might be triggered among patients with mild Covid-19 symptoms or recovering patients.

Publishing the paper in the journal Brain on Wednesday, neurologists said that there was a rise in a life-threatening condition called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (Adem) during the first wave of infections in Britain.

The British neurologists published the details of 43 Covid-19 patients in UK whose complications ranged from brain inflammation and delirium to nerve damage and stroke. In some cases, the neurological problem was the patients’ first and main symptom.

The patients included 24 males and 19 females with ages ranging from 16–85 years. Among them, 10 patients had a parainfectious or septic encephalopathy with delirium. A 55-year-old female, with no previous psychiatric history, was admitted with a 14-day history of fever, cough, muscle aches, breathlessness, as well as anosmia hypogeusia. A dozen patients had inflammation of the central nervous system, and a further eight had peripheral nerve problems.

The paper also said that Covid-19 is associated with a wide spectrum of neurological syndromes affecting the whole neuraxis, including the cerebral vasculature and in some cases, responding to immunotherapies. However, this complication was not related to the severity of the disease.

“We’re seeing things in the way Covid-19 affects the brain that we haven’t seen before with other viruses,” Michael Zandi, a senior author on the study and a consultant at the institute and University College London Hospitals NHS foundation trust was quoted as saying in The Guardian.

“What we’ve seen with some of these Adem patients, and in other patients, is you can have severe neurology, you can be quite sick, but actually have trivial lung disease,” Zandi added.

“We want clinicians around the world to be alert to these complications of coronavirus,” Zandi said. He urged physicians, GPs and healthcare workers with patients with cognitive symptoms, memory problems, fatigue, numbness, or weakness, to discuss the case with neurologists.

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