It is no longer a secret that the disease that has worried the entire world population, COVID-19, is related to neurological effects. However, a new study by Northwestern Memorial Hospital, in Chicago (USA), points out an unprecedented data: 80% of patients had neurological symptoms.
According to this research, neurological symptoms occur in 8 out of 10 hospitalized patients with COVID-19. These symptoms include muscle pain, headache, dizziness and encephalopathy, characterized by altered mental function ranging from mild confusion to coma, which is the most serious neurological manifestation of COVID-19.
To reach this conclusion, the researchers analyzed the medical records of more than 500 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 in the Northwestern health system. The researchers identified neurological symptoms in 42% of patients when their COVID-19 symptoms first appeared, 63% of patients when hospitalized and 82% of patients at any time during COVID-19.
Many patients reported muscle pain (45%) and headache (38%). Encephalopathy and dizziness were observed in almost one third of the patients. The study also found that 16% had disorders of taste and 11% had disorders of smell. After hospital discharge, only 32% of patients with encephalopathy were able to take care of their own affairs, compared with 89% of those who did not develop encephalopathy, showed the results.
In addition, the mortality rate in patients with encephalopathy was much higher (about 22%) than in those without encephalopathy (3%), according to the study. Now, those responsible for this research aim to characterize the long-term neurological effects of COVID-19 and cognitive outcomes in patients with encephalopathy associated with COVID-19. They are studying this in patients who are discharged from the hospital, as well as in people with COVID-19 who have never been hospitalized, but who also suffer from a similar range of neurological problems. In practice, these findings will help shape long-term care for people suffering from COVID-19 neurological complications.
However, this is by no means the first study relating the disease that has caused this pandemic to neurological systems: in September, for example, a study by Yale University, USA, provided the first clear evidence that, in some people, the coronavirus can invade brain cells, sucking up all the nearby oxygen and killing neighboring cells.
In July, a team of researchers from the Institute of Neurology at University College London (UCL) published a new research, in which they warn of serious brain disorders triggered by the coronavirus, capable of affecting even those who show only mild symptoms. In some cases, according to scientists, these neurological problems can even be fatal.
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