The New COVID-19 Symptom That Is Scaring Even Doctors and Researchers Alike
The COVID-19 pandemic is more than 6 months old, but researchers still haven’t understood how exactly the virus attacks and ravages both the body and mind. This deadly virus was primarily known to wreak havoc in the lungs. But recent studies have revealed startling facts about the virus. As per these studies and first-hand doctor testimonials it has been discovered that the virus also invades the brain which results in a slew of symptoms especially with one scary COVID-19 symptom: delirium or brain damage.
1Scientists have started calling COVID19 the delirium factory
As a result of the life-threatening brain injuries patients have suffered from due to the coronavirus, researchers dubbed the ICU a “delirium factory”. There are six brain damage symptoms caused by the coronavirus which include strokes, paralysis, hallucinations, mental confusion, seizures, and coma. Mental experts still aren’t sure how to treat these symptoms.
2Brain damage can be caused by COVID-19
According to scientific studies, coronavirus can cause brain damage. In one study from Wuhan, China, it was found that 36% of patients suffered neurological symptoms such as changes in consciousness, headaches, lack of muscle coordination, and strokes.
It was noted in a smaller case study published in the New England Journal of Medicine that patients suffering from COVID-19 in the hospital also had similar symptoms. One-third of them even suffered from “dysexecutive syndrome”- inattention, disorientation or poorly organized movements in response to commands even after they left the hospital.
After an MRI of a coronavirus patient who had lost the sense of smell, detected abnormalities, it was discovered that the coronavirus invades the brain as well. However, this one scary COVID-19 symptom is only limited to severe cases, as most of the patients involved in this research were on ventilators.
3There is no treatment for this symptom
Even though the connection between brain damage and the virus has been established, researchers are still unsure as to why or how this is happening. Sherry Chou, MD, an associate professor of critical care medicine, neurology and neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine said- “Right now, we actually don’t know enough to say definitely how COVID-19 affects the brain and nervous system. Until we can answer some of the most fundamental questions, it would be too early to speculate on treatments”
Authors of the medical journal- Critical Care which had coined the term “delirium factory”, hypothesized numerous possibilities. They wrote: “In patients with COVID-19, delirium may be a manifestation of direct central nervous system (CNS) invasion, induction of CNS inflammatory mediators, a secondary effect of other organ system failure, an effect of sedative strategies, prolonged mechanical ventilation time, or environmental factors, including social isolation”.
Neurological complications are always made top priority by doctors. But the virus tends to complicate everything from the initial diagnosis to the treatment options. For instance, there are some patients who are too sick to be moved around the hospital for tests like an MRI. When it comes to these patients doctors are also concerned about contaminating the testing equipment or infecting the health care workers. Dr. Chou remarked “Our hands are much more tied right now than before the pandemic”. Later it was also disclosed that strokes can go unnoticed when patients are heavily sedated.