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COVID-19 Effects Linked To Stroke, Dementia-Like Problems

Medical Daily logo Medical Daily 6/29/2020 Darwin Malicdem

COVID-19 took only months to cause a pandemic. As cases are rapidly increasing to millions, scientists are in a race to understand how the disease affects people and to find ways to eliminate the novel coronavirus. 

A new study, published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry, has added new complications linked to COVID-19. Researchers found that the disease can damage the brain.

If left untreated, patients may suffer from complications like stroke and inflammation. The study also found that severe infections could also lead to psychosis and dementia-like symptoms, Reuters reported.

“This (is) an important snapshot of the brain-related complications of COVID-19 in hospitalized patients,” Sarah Pett, co-lead researcher and a professor at University College London, said. “It is critically important that we continue to collect this information to really understand this virus fully.”

Pett and her colleagues said their study provides the first detailed look at the neurological effects of the coronavirus infection. It looked into data on 125 patients with severe conditions across the United Kingdom in April. 

Video: CDC adds three new COVID-19 symptoms to list (FOX News)

The team collected data at the time COVID-19 was rapidly spreading in the country. The analysis shows that stroke was the most common brain complication linked to the coronavirus disease.

Nearly 80 patients suffered from stroke while in the hospital. Most of them were over 60 years old and appeared with a blood clot in the brain, known as an ischaemic stroke.

Another 39 people showed signs of confusion or changes in behavior during the study. Researchers found severe COVID-19 cases led to an altered mental state, with some patients experiencing unspecified brain dysfunction called encephalopathy and an inflammation of the brain or encephalitis.

The team hopes the findings will help the medical community understand the effects of COVID-19 on the brain. They said larger studies are needed to find what directly causes neurological problems in coronavirus patients and to support the search for treatments.

“We now need detailed studies to understand the possible biological mechanisms... so we can explore potential treatments,” Benedict Michael, co-lead researcher from Liverpool University, said.

There are now more than 10.1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. remains on top of the most affected countries with 2.54 million infected people. 

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