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Video: Coronavirus Causes Rare Brain Damage
Coronavirus causes rare brain damage
Doctors discovered a rare brain lesion in a COVID-positive woman - acute necrotizing encephalopathy. It is known that it can develop against the background of viral infections: influenza and herpes.
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Doctors discovered a rare brain lesion in a COVID-positive woman - acute necrotizing encephalopathy. It is known that it can develop against the background of viral infections: influenza and herpes. The report on the first case of this pathology against the background of a new coronavirus infection was published in the journal Radiology
What is this condition
In acute necrotizing encephalopathy, bilateral necrosis (necrosis) of parts of some parts of the brain (most often the thalamus) develops. It is a rare, serious and often fatal condition. If left untreated, it can lead to coma, liver and nervous system disorders.
Such encephalopathy can appear when a so-called cytokine storm begins against the background of a viral infection. The brain can attack and damage inflammatory cytokine mediators. Scientists have already described a cytokine storm in COVID-19 patients.
Dr. Elissa Fory, co-author of the study, noted that this complication is no less dangerous than the known complications of COVID-19.
What happened to the patient
In the case described by the doctors, a 58-year-old woman was admitted to a hospital in Detroit with a cough, fever (common symptoms of COVID-19) and "altered mental state." The patient was confused, lethargic and disoriented.
First, the doctors checked to see if she had flu, herpes and some other viral infections. They also ruled out bacterial brain damage. After that, she was tested for COVID-19, which turned out to be positive. Computed tomography of the lungs showed tissue damage to the thalamus. After a long differential diagnosis, doctors diagnosed the patient with acute necrotizing encephalopathy.
“The pattern of the affected areas and the way the disease progressed day by day is similar to how it occurs with viral brain inflammation. This may mean that in rare cases, the virus can go directly to the brain,”Elissa Faury told The New York Times.
At the time of publication of the case report, the patient was in serious condition.
How often does COVID-19 affect the brain and nerves?
Despite the confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 in the patient, scientists believe that now it is still impossible to unequivocally state that the coronavirus can cause acute necrotizing encephalopathy. But this is not the only message about disorders of the nervous system during coronavirus infection.
ENT doctors have reported that the early symptoms of COVID-19 may be loss of smell, which may be due to nerve damage. In March, doctors observed a 74-year-old patient with coronavirus infection for signs of brain abnormalities and lost his ability to speak. A study published in The BMJ found that 22% of the 113 deaths from COVID-19 patients had impaired consciousness.
In a recent article, Chinese scientists talked about other coronaviruses that do not multiply in the respiratory tract, but affect the central nervous system. The authors do not exclude that the effect of viruses on the brain may become one of the causes of respiratory failure.