Researchers in the UK have discovered that a small number of recovering Covid19 patients develop “mild to potentially fatal brain disorders.” The complications range from “brain inflammation and delirium to nerve damage and stroke” they say.
One woman, with no history of mental disorders, began hallucinating shortly after being discharged from the hospital. She said she was seeing monkeys and lions in her house. She would also repeatedly remove and put on her coat. Her condition gradually improved with the help of antipsychotic medication.
Another woman reported a headache and numbness in her right hand shortly after experiencing a cough and a headache. After becoming drowsy and unresponsive doctors had to remove a portion of her skull to relieve pressure on her swollen brain.
“What we’ve seen with some of these…patients…is you can have severe neurology, you can be quite sick, but actually have trivial lung disease,” said Michael Zandi, one of the authorities involved in the study.
The full extent of brain damage from Covid19 has yet to be discovered mainly because patients in hospitals have been too sick to examine in brain scanners or by other methods.
“What we really need now is better research to look at what’s really going on in the brain,” Zandi said.
“It’s a concern if some hidden epidemic could occur after Covid where you’re going to see delayed effects on the brain, because there could be subtle effects on the brain and slowly things happen over the coming years, but it’s far too early for us to judge now,” he added. “We hope, obviously, that that’s not going to happen, but when you’ve got such a big pandemic affecting such a vast proportion of the population it’s something we need to be alert to.”
Photo by NIH