This section provides indications on neurological effects of the Covid-19 virus from several scientific papers and medical articles that I recently reviewed from reliable sources.
According to this paper, “increasing evidence suggests that infection with Sars-CoV-2 causes neurological deficits in a substantial proportion of affected patients. While these symptoms arise acutely during the course of infection, less is known about the possible long-term consequences for the brain.”
This news article from The Georgia Institute points out that “neurological complications have emerged as a significant cause of ongoing ill health in the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Many of those affected complain of various symptoms such as brain fog, dizziness, headaches, insomnia and fatigue. They may also be at increased risk of long-term complications, such as stroke and memory impairment.”
In this cohort study of 3,744 patients in two large consortia published in JAMA, “neurological manifestations were found in approximately 80% of patients hospitalized with Covid-19. The most common self-reported symptoms included headache and anosmia or ageusia. The most common neurological signs and/or syndromes were acute encephalopathy, coma, and stroke. Presence of clinically captured neurologic signs and/or syndromes was associated with increased risk of in-hospital death.”
Another cohort study followed 13,001 adults in Norway in May 2021. Six hundred fifty-one participants with the Covid-19 positive group reported problems concentrating. Two hundred sixty-seven participants in the positive group reported memory problems, worsening of health, such as feeling depressed, having less energy, or pain.
A study observing 214 patients identified neurologic symptoms in 36.4% of Covid-19 patients and found it more common in 45.5% of patients with severe infection according to their respiratory status. They included acute cerebrovascular events, impaired consciousness, and muscle injury.
This study investigated an association between cross-sectional cognitive performance data from 81,337 participants between January and December 2020. People who had recovered from Covid, including those no longer reporting symptoms, exhibited significant cognitive deficits versus controls. Finer grained analysis of performance across sub-tests supported the hypothesis that Covid-19 has a multi-domain impact on human cognition.
This article on Neurology reported two cases highlighting the rare occurrence of Miller Fisher syndrome and polyneuritis cranialis during the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the article, these neurologic manifestations may occur because of an aberrant immune response to Covid-19; however, the full clinical spectrum of neurologic symptoms in patients with Covid-19 remains to be characterized.
This article in the New England Journal of Medicine reported “five cases of large-vessel stroke in patients younger than 50 years of age who presented to the health system in New York City. These five patients were diagnosed with Covid-19 infection.”
According to this paper, “CoVs are neuro-invasive causing additional inflammation and neuro-degeneration.” It confirms that the long-term consequences of SARS-CoV-2 neuro infections are unknown. The document discusses potential chronic changes to the central nervous system related to accelerated brain aging and age-related neuro-degenerative disorders.
This review paper related to the potential role of Covid-19 virus in neuro-pathogenesis provides “detailed information about the virulence, epidemiology, and insights into molecular pathways involved in the infectivity of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, along with an in-depth view of current concepts about the neurological significance of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and its neuro-pathological competence.”
This paper presents a literature review of 765 Covid-19 patients, in which 18% had neurological symptoms and complications, including encephalopathy, encephalitis and cerebrovascular pathologies, acute myelitis, and Guillain-Barré syndrome.
This paper informs that “SARS-CoV-2 is a neuro-invasive virus capable of triggering a cytokine storm, with persistent effects in specific populations. Although our hypothesis is highly speculative, the impact of Covid-19 infection on the onset and progression of neuro-degenerative and neuro-psychiatric diseases of neuro-inflammatory origin should be regarded as the potential cause of a delayed pandemic that may have a major public health impact in the medium to long term.”
“Therefore, the cognitive and neuro-psychological functions should be closely monitored in Covid-19 survivors” as advised in the paper.
About the Author
I am a technologist, postdoctoral researcher in cognitive science, author of several books, editor of publications, and digital marketing strategist with four decades of industry experience.
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