From headache to neurological symptoms of various kinds up to serious cerebrovascular complications, such as stroke , and perhaps even psychiatric problems: the list of symptoms and complications associated with Covid-19, in hospitalised patients – therefore generally not those with mild symptoms – yes lengthens.
This is shown by two studies, including a European research, conducted largely by Italian scientists (from the San Paolo hospital and the Milan State University) and published in the European Journal of Neurology, and a study carried out by various English universities, including that of Liverpool and published on Lancet Psychiatry. The two studies provide further support for other evidence that has shown a link between Covid-19 and neurological symptoms.
Neurological symptoms, the European study
The survey involved European doctors and was conducted through online questionnaires, consisting of 17 questions. In all, 2,300 questionnaires were collected that reported the presence of any neurological symptom in as many as two thirds of patients with coronavirus infection, of which the majority (almost 75%) passed through the emergency rooms of the Covid units. 19. The important element, according to the authors, is that neurological symptoms would be quite widespread, at least according to the data. The most common problems were headaches (about 60% of patients), muscle pain in the head and loss of smell temporary in half of people (but also in taste, in about 40% of cases). But there is also a 21% who reported major cerebrovascular events, such as stroke – taking into account that the results are based on data from patients with severe Covid-19.
“The mechanisms,” explained Alberto Priori , director of the Neurological Clinic III of the San Paolo hospital, “can be directed due to the spread of the virus in the nervous tissue, as demonstrated at the San Paolo University Center”. But there are also indirect mechanisms, the expert continues, such as the important activation of blood clotting, which can lead to stroke. For this reason, experts conclude that it is necessary to keep neurological manifestations, even late ones, under control once the person has recovered.
The English study
Research conducted by the University of Liverpool together with other research institutions is a case report describing the neurological and psychiatric symptoms of 125 people with Covid-19 hospitalised in the United Kingdom. In the study, the researchers describe the neurological symptoms of 77 patients who had a stroke due to the closure of a cerebral artery (ischemic stroke , the most common type), 9 who had a stroke due to a ruptured artery (hemorrhagic) and a person in whom it was caused by inflammation of the blood vessels in the brain.
Coronavirus: Can It Also Give Psychiatric Symptoms?
Then there are 39 patients who showed mental confusion and changes in behaviour, of which 7 had encephalitis. The remaining 23 had psychiatric problems , including psychotic symptoms, similar to those of dementia and mood disorders . The researchers specify that it cannot be excluded that these psychological and psychiatric manifestations were not present even earlier. In this case, however, it must be remembered that the research is a case report, that is, it describes limited cases whose incidence we do not know with respect to the total number of patients.
But the authors point out that sharing data is essential for early recognition and increasingly adequate treatment of possible complications of Covid-19 . And, combined with the European survey carried out by Italian researchers and other studies on the subject, it indicates the need to pay attention also to brain health and neurological symptoms.