Coronavirus Still a Neurological Threat to Survivors?

The ability to focus is a common post-COVID-19 problem. How long does it last? We don’t know.

I read headlines this morning that over 80% of the hospitalized COVID-19 patients experienced neurological symptoms. That caught my eye and I read further. The symptoms experienced were headaches, dizziness, impaired sense of taste, and smell. I thought these symptoms were part of the official list of symptoms for COVID-19

Encephalopathy

The other symptom noted was encephalopathy. This is a collective term for any brain disease that affects the brain in some way, such as reason, concentration, memory, personality, seizures, and more. When a viral infection causes it, the patient is treated with antiviral medications. https://www.medicinenet.com/encephalopathy/article.htm

I thought it strange that we have not seen or heard more about neurological problems from hospitalized COVID-19 patients. I remember that there were some brief mentions of it months ago, but nothing recently.

Neurological Symptoms

The study mentioned that it was published this week in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology. However, what caught my attention was that this study focused on patients from March 5th through April 6th at the Northwestern Medicine Healthcare system.

Did it take that long to collect the data, analyze it, discuss it, write it, submit it, and wait for publication? Possibly, the wheels of peer review and publication take time. But why was it headline news? https://www.foxnews.com/health/hospitalized-coronavirus-patients-neurological-symptoms-study

More Recent Data

I did a quick search and found an article that was published less than 30 days ago. It also delineated a ‘small number of people’ with headaches, dizziness, lingering loss of taste and smell, and trouble thinking or concentrating. A ‘small number’ is not over 80%. https://www.danburyhospital.org/newsroom/articles/neurological-effects-of-covid19

The 80+% study stated that the COVID-19 patients discharged did not suffer any at rate differently than those COVID-19 patients without neurological issues. Additionally, only 6% of those COVID-19 patients with neurological problems were treated by a neurologist.

Conclusion

Is this a ‘catch up’ study to document what happened? I can buy that. Is it meant to be something to spend more money on to see if there really are long-term neurological issues with COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms? Yes, can even buy that argument.

COVID-19 patients are being treated differently today than they were six months ago. Many fewer coronavirus patients are put on ventilators. The hospital stays are shorter. The mortality rate is lower.
Yes, there probably are some lingering COVID-19 brain fog concerns as there is chemo-induced brain fog from cancer patients. Are the neurological symptoms brought on by the virus or the drugs used to treat the virus? Yes, many questions remain.

It is nice to have a retrospective look at data but allowing me to think that over 80% of COVID-19 patients still have brain problems that affect the quality of their lives is a stretch.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com

 

 


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