People undergoing treatments for neurological diseases, be it a stroke or migraine, are more prone to die from COVID-19. The biggest study held to analyze the link between neurological issues and extreme cases of COVID-19 concludes that patients with COVID-19 infections are at higher chances of dying. The study author Sherry Chou, a neurologist of Pittsburgh Medical Center University, said that patients with neurological disorders should get vaccinated soon and take extra precautions to prevent them from COVID-19 infections.
People With Neurological Issues Are Prone To Severe COVID-19 Infection And Death
This study has observed more than 3700 patients in 13 countries, which started last year in March. That was the time when doctors had started to find out that COVID-19 is not only about a mere respiratory infection, but it had many other hazardous effects. Chou mentioned their gaps in knowledge while presenting the findings of the initial study virtually at the American Academy of Neurology annual meet.
She is the head of the Global Consortium Study of Neurologic Dysfunction in COVID-19. This association research about long and short-term neurological consequences of COVID-19 and evaluates the efficiency of the treatments.
Chou says that it is very important to understand the impact of COVID-19 on neurological issues so that the intensity of the pandemic can be fathomed. Chou also said that the issues with the brain and nerve are hazardous and mostly non-curable.
The study evaluated the facts and figures of three groups. The biggest group included 3000+ patients of COVID-19 who were admitted to the participating hospitals. The two other smaller groups included patients already suffering from neurological problems or developed neurological problems because of COVID-19. Information was collected from patients about the symptoms of COVID-19, and also observations by clinicians were noted. In all the three groups, 4 out of 5 people had some neurological problems or symptoms while hospitalized. 1 out of 3 patients suffered from headaches, and 1 out of 4 reported their loss of taste and smell.
Neurological symptoms and issues like coma, confusion, delirium, etc., are more dangerous than the mild symptoms reported by the patients. Patients admitted to hospitals and had neurological signs, almost half of them were six times more prone to die than those without neurological issues.
Dr. Natalia Rost commented that the study was concrete, and it gives facts indicating the people with the neurological disorder are more likely to get neurological injuries with COVID-19. This information might help clinicians to opt for the correct treatments and low-risk cures for patients with high neurological risk, as said by Chou.
Rost remarked that most of the patients considered in the study were hospitalized between March and October 2020, when the surge in COVID-19 cases was overwhelming.
According to the study, patients having neurological issues already existing in them and who were severely affected by COVID-19 were more likely to acquire added neurological problems. One of the major problems found in all the patients was acute encephalopathy which is a phrase used to describe the range of ailments involving delirium, brain fog, and confusion. Another common complication was coma.
Chou mentioned that with advanced tools and data from the researches on COVID-19 patients, post-viral syndromes could be treated better.
The positive aspect of the study, as reported by Rost, was that the neurological impacts on COVID-19 on the brain or the nerves were not as detrimental as the neurologists assumed.
Chou and Rost both shared their relief about stroke not being the most major neurological sign. 6% of the patients studied in this research were affected by stroke.
The association has plans to the expansion of its studies to evaluate the neurological consequences of COVID-19 on children. It also aims to study the long-term impacts with more intensity.