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COVID-19 has a neurological impact

Neurologic complications from COVID-19 are common and can range from decreased mental clarity to stroke.

brain that has neurologic complications from COVID-19

Here’s what you should know about the complications so far.


COVID-19: Why some people get sick and others don’t

What are some of the complications?

There was a belief that the COVID-19 virus  may have directly affected brain cells. This study disproves that assumption. Read more about it here.

The neurological damage seems to be a result of severe inflammation and neurovascular injury.

Headaches, memory issues, and cognitive deterioration are a few notable changes.

Researchers from Northwestern University in Chicago, IL, reported that even people who had not been hospitalized for COVID-19 demonstrated “cognitive dysfunction.” These problems persisted far beyond beyond six weeks from the infection.

The most common neurologic complications of COVID-19 include:

  • loss of smell
  • stroke
  • delirium — a mental state characterized by an inability to rest, illusions, and incoherent thought and speech patterns
  • encephalopathy — a temporary or permanent state of altered brain function
  • psychiatric symptoms
  • peripheral neuropathy — a condition where nerve damage alters the communication between the central nervous system and the rest of the body

This research has helped experts formulate theories on the cause of “nervous system consequences” of COVID-19.

MRIs have also confirmed microvascular damage and brain atrophy (shrinkage) in COVID-19 patients.

Positron emission tomography confirms decreased metabolic activity in the brains of people diagnosed with long COVID.

Scientists are concerned about the long-term recovery of people who had COVID-19.

From a neurologic standpoint, there are concerns that neuroinflammation and neuronal injury from COVID-19 might “accelerate or trigger future development of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.”

There are still many unknowns on how COVID-19 will affect children long term.


COVID-19: Hospitalization rates for vaccinated vs. unvaccinated

 

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