On a global level, COVID-19 has led thousands of people to their deathbeds. An approximate of 376K deaths have occurred as of yet. The physical symptoms of the SARS-CoV-2 virus include cough, shortness of breath, and fever.
Other symptoms such as loss of appetite, loss of smell, sore throat, and body ache are also common. But while most know about the physical symptoms of the disease, many are unaware that it can have neurological symptoms as well.
Researchers from Ohio and Italy have found that severe cases can develop neurological symptoms such as an altered mental state and stroke. Their research work wasn’t able to uncover how and why COVID-19 causes neurological symptoms.
Diving Into The Research Work
Italy is one of the places worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Up till now, COVID-19 has killed 33,000 people in Italy. Researchers of the study analyzed the symptoms of patients hospitalized in three institutions. Of the total 725 patients hospitalized, 15% had neurological symptoms.
Of the neurological symptoms, the most common were an altered mental state and ischemic stroke. 59% of patients experienced the former while 31% experienced the latter. An altered mental state refers to a cluster of symptoms including confusion, delirium, and coma. Whereas ischemic strokes are caused due to blood clots that block blood vessels and hamper blood flow.
Some people also experienced minor symptoms. 12% of them had headaches, 9% experienced seizures, and 4% had dizziness. Imaging of these patients revealed that 47% of them had acute abnormalities. While ischemic strokes were more common, 6% of them also had intracranial hemorrhage.
The journal Radiology published this research work.
What Did The Authors Say?
Lead author of the study, Dr. Abdelkader Mahammedi said, “Currently we have a poor understanding of the neurological symptoms in COVID-19 patients, whether these are arising from critical illness or from direct central nervous system invasion of SARS-CoV-2.”
He further added, “We hope further study on this subject will help in uncovering clues and providing better interventions for patients.”
How Can This Finding Help?
This finding can help doctors notice such neurological symptoms earlier and hence, take measures of intervention sooner. The study was not able to find why COVID-19 has an effect on the central nervous system.
Due to the lack of complete understanding of the disease and because it is still relatively new, treatment is tough. There is no vaccine yet and social distancing measures may need to be continued for a long time to come.
A new study by Italian researchers sheds light on some neurological symptoms of COVID-19. The disease can cause symptoms such as stroke and an altered mental state.
As this study has recognized these symptoms, doctors can now identify and address such concerns rising out of the disease sooner and better. The research work was not able to find how COVID-19 impacts your central nervous system.