Doctors Find Brain Problems Related to Covid-19 Patients: Study | Medical Investigation

Brain complications, including strokes and psychosis, have been linked to Covid-19 in a study that raises concerns about the potentially extensive impact of the disease in some patients.

The study is small and based on doctors’ observations, so it cannot provide a clear overall picture of the rate of such complications. However, medical experts say the findings highlight the need to investigate the possible effects of Covid-19 on the brain and the studies to explore possible treatments.

“There have been increasing reports of an association between Covid-19 infection and possible neurological or psychiatric complications, but so far, they have generally been limited to studies of 10 patients or fewer,” said Benedict Michael, the lead author. from the studio, from the University of Liverpool. “Ours is the first nationwide study of neurological complications associated with Covid-19, but it is important to note that it focuses on cases that are severe enough to require hospitalization.”

The scientists said the findings were an important snapshot of possible complications, but they should be treated with caution since it is not possible to draw conclusions from the data on the prevalence of such complications.

The study, published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry, focused on patients treated in UK hospitals during the exponential phase of the Covid-19 pandemic in April. Michael and his colleagues asked medical specialists to report the clinical details of the Covid-19 patients, who were experiencing a variety of neurological and psychiatric complications that were potentially related to the disease.

Of the 125 cases reported in detail, the most common brain complication observed was stroke, which was reported in 77 patients. Of these, 57 patients had a stroke caused by a blood clot in the brain, known as an ischemic stroke, nine patients had a stroke caused by a hemorrhage, and one patient had a stroke caused by inflammation in the blood vessels. of the brain . Previously, Covid-19 has been found, in some patients, to cause severe inflammation and blood clots in the lungs and other parts of the body.

Another 39 patients showed signs of confusion or behavioral changes reflecting an altered mental state, and seven of them had inflammation of the brain, medically termed encephalitis. The remaining 23 patients with an altered mental state were diagnosed with psychiatric conditions, including psychosis, a dementia-like syndrome, and mood disorders. Although most psychiatric diagnoses were recorded as new, the researchers say they cannot exclude the possibility that they were not diagnosed before the patient developed Covid-19.

Michael Sharpe, professor of psychological medicine at the University of Oxford, said: “This report describes often surprising cases of neurological and psychiatric illness that are sometimes associated with severe Covid-19 in hospitalized patients. It reminds us that Covid-19 is more than a respiratory infection and that we must consider its link to a variety of other diseases. “

However, he added, more research was needed to rule out the possibility that the diseases simply occurred with Covid-19 rather than being caused by it. “Currently, people in the general population should not be overly concerned with these possibly associated diseases, as they are probably relatively rare in people infected with this coronavirus,” he said.

Professor Til Wykes, vice dean of psychology and systems science at King’s College London, said there was an awareness that there have been mental health problems associated with the pandemic, due to the indirect impacts of the virus. “We thought these problems would be just increases in anxiety and depression, but there is clearly a small number of people experiencing a first episode of psychosis after hospitalization with severe Covid-19: 8% of all reported cases. in this role, ”she said.