Scientists Fear "wave Of Neuropsychiatric Consequences" Of COVID-19

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Scientists Fear "wave Of Neuropsychiatric Consequences" Of COVID-19
Scientists Fear "wave Of Neuropsychiatric Consequences" Of COVID-19

Video: Scientists Fear "wave Of Neuropsychiatric Consequences" Of COVID-19

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Scientists fear "wave of neuropsychiatric consequences" of COVID-19

Science knows a lot about how viruses can damage the brain. Scientists have already described a number of neural pathologies that developed against the background of COVID-19. The authors of the new review want to remind doctors and patients of the risk of nervous system problems with a new coronavirus infection.

Scientists fear
Scientists fear

Scientists warn: the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 can have a multifaceted negative effect on the nervous system. There is a chance COVID-19 could directly damage nerve tissue, according to a new review. At the same time, the stress caused by the disease can lead to various mental disorders.

Overview “Are we facing a crushing wave of neuropsychiatric sequel to COVID-19? Neuropsychiatric Symptoms and Potential Immunological Mechanisms,”carried out by scientists at the University of California, San Diego, published the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.

More than stress

The evidence that the new coronavirus has a direct brain-damaging effect is growing, scientists say. Psychiatrist Emily A. Troyer, lead author of the new study, told Gizmodo:

“I think everyone is faced with stress and fear, which are caused by significant changes in society and the economy. We don't want to diminish the importance of this factor, but my colleagues and I are curious if people who develop COVID-19 experience problems other than those associated with psychological stress, neuropsychiatric symptoms that are the result of a virus or an immune response to the nervous system."

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The scientists recalled that influenza pandemics were closely associated with outbreaks of brain damage, unstable mood, muscle dysfunctions. Such violations could be observed both during illness and after some time.

To date, a small number of neurological problems associated with COVID-19 have already been described: cerebral edema, stroke, epileptic seizures. In addition, many patients report temporary loss of smell and taste.

COVID-19 and nerves. Theories

Scientists have several theories about how the new coronavirus could affect the nervous system. They point out that the virus can break through the blood-brain barrier - from the blood vessels into the brain - and infect neurons directly. Another theory is that the immune system overreacts to the virus: it can lead to widespread lesions and affect the brain. The third assumption is that the virus infects immune cells that enter the brain and cause inflammation in it. The last - the least popular among scientists - theory is that the virus damages the gut microbiome, which indirectly negatively affects the brain.

If, during an acute infection, the virus did not have a damaging effect on the brain, a delayed reaction of the immune system cannot be ruled out. It is described that some viruses (for example, the influenza virus) can be triggers of autoimmune damage to the nervous system. Such processes can lead to muscle weakness, chronic pain and even paralysis.

Remember the risks

Scientists noted that there are now a lot of open questions about the effect of the SARS-CoV-2 virus on the nervous system. It is not known if COVID-19 is more damaging to her than severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). But the potential danger of a "flurry" of neurological consequences of infection is enormous, given the magnitude of the current pandemic.

The review authors believe that the medical community needs to be reminded of the possibility of nervous disorders in the background of COVID-19. Then the specialists will be able to notice such violations in time and react to them.

“We also want people to know that the nervous system can be involved in COVID-19. We hope that people will talk to their doctors about the emotional, behavioral, cognitive and sensorimotor symptoms that can occur during illness,”Troyer said.

She added that she didn't want people to worry more. Most importantly, they need to know that they need to talk to doctors about all the symptoms that arise.

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