The strange ways that coronavirus can affect the brain

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Across the world, doctors have noticed that Covid is often accompanied not just by the familiar shortness of breath and coughing that affect the body, but also by a huge range of conditions hitting the brain – from foggy thinking, through delirium, all the way to strokes and Parkinsonism.

New research from Chicago reports that one third of Covid patients hospitalised early in the pandemic suffered some form of altered mental state – from confusion to unresponsiveness.

That in itself is not so unusual. Being seriously ill affects lucidity.

According to Mary Ni Lochlainn, fellow in Geriatric Medicine at King’s College London, up to 80 per cent of those in intensive care suffer delirium. But the consequences with Covid, the Chicago statistics suggest, are dramatic. Those with brain disorders needed three times as long in hospital as those without and were seven times more likely to die. On discharge only a third could perform routine tasks.

University of Liverpool’s Institute of Infection and Global Health experts reported strokes in patients without any normal risk factors like age, diabetes, or history of smoking. Not just any strokes, but powerful, multiple strokes, causing life-changing disability. There were episodes of psychosis, with patients previously untroubled by mental disorders having powerful delusions and having to be restrained.

What neurologists are now struggling to determine is whether these few, truly serious brain complications of Covid are linked to the far greater number of enduring cases of “brain fog” and fatigue that can contribute to long Covid.

Read more via The Telegraph

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