A new symptom relating to the coronavirus may be much more fatal than previously known effects. A new trend is being observed among patients being admitted to hospitals in New York. Beyond the usual fever and respiratory signs, some cases are showing severe confusion and neural incapacity.
The most common reason for this issue is a lack of oxygen, but patients are showing the symptoms contrary to how the respiratory system is faring.
Neurologist at the New York University Langone Brooklyn hospital, Jennifer Frontera, who is overseeing the patients, told AFP that discoveries are raising the alarm over the effects of the COVID-19 on the human nervous system.
An unusual new symptom
According to Rappler, new reports of unusual signs developing concerning the coronavirus infection have begun surfacing.
The Journal of the American Medical Association published a study last week, which found 36.4% of 214 Chinese patients showed neurological symptoms ranging from mild confusion to severe seizures and strokes.
Associate professor of critical care medicine, neurology, and neurosurgery at the Univesity of Pittsburgh, Sherry Chou said, "I think at this point, I would say that we know something." Also, adding "But we definitely don't know enough," regarding the correlation between the virus and the human brain.
One of the biggest mysteries to Professor Chou is contemplating is why the neural symptoms of the COVID-19 virus only show up in some patients. She wonders if the infection targets the nervous system directly or is just a reaction of the body to the foreign attacker.
Lack of information
Professor Chou also said, "We're really in uncharted waters here," while explaining most of what we have yet to understand with the disease is born from its uniqueness and recentness and how our attention is focused on containment and mitigation rather than researching everything about it.
The professor is also in hopes that the missing information regarding the cause of the pandemic is figured out soon as she leads a team of physicians and scientists from all over the world to understand just how the COVID-19 affects the nervous system, as reported by AARP.
An examination of 58 patients in Strasbourg, France revealed more than 50% were found to be confused or agitated, and succeeding brain imaging suggests inflammation, a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed this week.
Chair of the neurology department at the University of California, S Andrew Josephson, said to AFP "You've been hearing that this is a breathing problem, but it also affects what we most care about, the brain," while adding "If you become confused if you're having problems thinking, those are reasons to seek medical attention."
The newly discovered symptoms prompt the general population to ignore the previous mantra of "Don't come un unless you're short of breath" would likely not apply anymore.
Frontera and her team have found one startling case where a man in his fifties whose white matter had been severely damaged that it "would basically render him in a state of profound brain damage," they said.
Doctors are at a loss and are interested in analyzing the man's spinal fluid to reveal the inner workings of the virus. Still, these are difficult to perform on patients attached to ventilators.
There is no current knowledge of how long or how severe the neurological effects of the COVID-19 are. The entire experience of contracting the deadly virus and being subject to multiple tests is disorienting enough to the patient.
Returning to normal seemingly takes longer for people with neurological conditions than those who have heart failure or stroke, added Rohan Arora, a neurologist at the Long Island Jewish Forest Hills.