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BRAIN BUSTER 

Fears coronavirus will spark brain damage ‘epidemic’ as even mild cases cause inflammation

PEOPLE who have contracted the coronavirus could also suffer brain complications, experts have revealed.

Conditions such as brain inflammation, strokes, nerve damage and delirium have all been named as complications that could be caused by Covid-19.

Experts from University College London’s Institute of Neurology have now warned that a brain damage “epidmic” could be on the way after they found that some patients with the coronavirus did not experience severe respiratory issues.

They also said that neurological disorders were the first symptom that some Covid patients presented with.

They warned that doctors needed to be aware of neurological effects that could be present when patients have Covid-19 as even mild cases of the virus can cause inflammation.

During the study the team identified a rare and fatal inflammatory condition called ADEM (acute disseminated encephalomyelitis) which they found had increased during the pandemic.

Researchers looked at detailed accounts of neurological symptoms of 43 people between the ages of 16 and 18.

They were being treated at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery and either had suspected or confirmed cases of Covid-19.

They found ten cases of temporary brain dysfunction with delirium.

They also found 12 cases of brain inflammation, eight of strokes and eight other patients who were suffering nerve damage.

The type of nerve damage most patients experienced was Guilliain-Barré syndrome which would usually occur after a patient experienced a respiratory condition.

Nine out of 12 cases were diagnosed with ADEM.

The condition is usually seen in children and is triggered by viral infections.

The researchers said they had been seeing one adult patient per week presenting with this condition, they said before the pandemic this was around one patient a month.

The researchers said that the virus did not directly attack the brain and said the brain inflammation was likely caused by an immune response from the disease.

So far in the UK over 44,000 people have died from the coronavirus and the research suggests that many who survive the virus could be left with permanent damage to the brain.  Read more

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