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STAY ALERT: How COVID-19 Affects Human Brain

Our knowledge of this virus keeps expanding on daily basis. Many patients arriving in hospitals in USA do not have fever, cough and difficulty in breathing as popularly preached as classic symptoms of these virus. Some of these patients are so disoriented that they don’t even know what time of the day it is, what month of the year it is or where they are.

A lot of people are quite familiar with respiratory signs- cough and difficulty in breathing but not many know that some patients with COVID-19 can develop brain symptoms like loss of smell, loss of sensation to pain, seizure and stroke.

The cause of this effect on human brain has been linked to low oxygen level in the blood of the patients which does not necessarily correlate with the extent of damage to the lungs.

In France, more than 50% of the patients on admission due to COVID-19 were confused or agitated. Scan report of their brain shows signs of inflammation.

Andrew Josephson at the University of California advised, “If you are having problems thinking and become confused, those are reasons to seek medical attention. The idea of waiting until patient is coughing and short of breath before recommending COVID-19 screening for patient might soon become outdated.

The full extent of brain injury caused by COVID-19 is not yet known because majority of the patients are on ventilators hence brain imaging like CT scan and spinal taps (CSF fluid analysis) are difficult to perform.

Full recovery in patients who suffer stroke from COVID-19 takes longer time.