Coronaviruses in the brain: Covid-19 can also trigger psychoses


Sars-CoV-2 can penetrate into the nervous system and cause damage there. The temporary loss of taste and smell is just an indication. Psychoses and strokes can also go hand in hand, even if Covid-19 has already been overcome.
The list of symptoms and complications that can belong to Covid-19 is getting longer. It is already known that the virus can also damage the brain, which in turn leads to a number of different symptoms. Confusion, depressive moods, anxiety, memory disorders and insomnia are reported, as well as strokes that occur due to disorders in the blood supply to the brain. Some of these disorders persist even after patients have recovered from Covid-19. In the long term, some patients even suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, as the “Deutsche Ärzteblatt” reports, citing a published study.

Researchers from Great Britain wanted to know how often such psyche and brain disorders occur, how long they last and in which region they occur most frequently. They therefore called on doctors in their country at the beginning of the pandemic to report cases of abnormal patients on the platform. So far, more than 550 reports have been received.

Covid-19 and other neuropsychiatric disorders

Researchers led by Benedict Michael from the University of Liverpool have now published results from an initial analysis of the data in the journal “Lancet Psychiatry”. The researchers evaluated 125 of a total of 153 cases that were received on the platform between April 2 and 26. All reported patients had Covid 19 disease and also had a neurological or psychiatric diagnosis. The patients were between 23 and 94 years old. The average age was given as 71 years.

According to the analysis, 57 out of 125 patients (44 percent) had a stroke due to insufficient blood flow to the brain. 39 (31 percent) showed an altered mental state that was diagnosed due to neurological or psychiatric causes.

Of these 39, 16 had a pathological brain change and 23 had a mental change that led to a psychiatric diagnosis. A newly diagnosed psychosis was diagnosed ten times, dementia-like disorders six times and a so-called mood disorder four times, i.e. a significant change in mood.

Always think of Sars-CoV-2 infection

When evaluating the data, it was found that 49 percent of the patients in the neuropsychiatric disorders were younger than 60. “We were surprised to find so many cases of meningitis and psychosis, especially in younger patients,” said Benedict Michael of the results, which were also published on the University of Liverpool website.

The researchers, who say they have not yet completed the study, are aware that the published interim results cannot yet give a clear indication of the frequency of neuropsychiatric disorders associated with Covid-19. On the basis of their information, they nevertheless call on colleagues around the world to think about the possibility of Sars CoV-2 infection in patients with acute neurological or psychiatric conditions and to treat them accordingly.

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