Coronavirus causes brain damage, observational study finds

According to Professor Hervé Vespignani, neurologist and medical director of the startup Bioserenity, the new coronavirus would affect the cerebral cortex of infected people.

After the lungs and the heart, there’s the brain. According to the startup Bioserenity, the new coronavirus would not only affect the respiratory tract but may also have consequences on the cerebral cortex of sick people. In an observational study to be published in the Annals of Neurology, the teams of Prof. Hervé Vespignani announce the detection of brain lesions detected in patients with Coronavirus by an electroencephalogram (EEG).

Abnormalities “characteristic of encephalitis, that is to say a direct attack on the cerebral cortex”, explains the medical director of Bioserenity. “Coronavirus shouldn’t be thought of as a respiratory disease, but it is most likely to be responsible for brain damage,” said the neurologist.

In France, the EEG performed on delay in waking up the artificial coma necessary for intubation shows in four patients out of 26 and in another confused patient registered between March 18 and 31 in Île-de-France (AP-HP and clinics private) “aspects related to inflammatory and non-infectious encephalitis”. “As of March 31, the intensive care units and anesthesiologists of Ile-de-France were notified, as well as the entire medical community on April 7. Out of 170 observations that we have, we noted 22 cases of encephalitis”, announces Professor Hervé Vespignani.

“There are patients after the respiratory healing phase who may have cognitive consequences. This may be from resuscitation but it is very likely that there is an indirect attack of the virus on the brain”, explained Friday on neurologist on RMC based on a figure: 20% of comas remain unexplained in China and South Korea.

“This virus has not yet revealed all its negative sides”

“This virus is not only ENT and pulmonary, it also seems to have an action on other organs, be it the heart, the kidney, the faith and now the brain, notes Alain Ducardonnet, health consultant, who adds that this inflammation of the brain “could possibly give respiratory problems in addition to direct breathing. This virus has not yet revealed all its negative sides, “he concludes.

Still, to date, no autopsy has yet found brain damage in people who died from Coronavirus.” We need to understand why some patients with coronavirus have difficulty waking up from their artificial coma “, underlines however Professor Vespignani, who recalls that brain damage can cause numerous consequences: difficulty in attention and concentration, sleep disturbances, memory disturbances immediate, even psychological phenomena.

The neurologist also reviews on the loss of smell and taste, observed in some patients, and which could constitute a clue “to say that the virus can go up by the nervous nets which arrive directly at the base of the brain and from there perhaps invade it. “

Such encephalitis, hitherto not described, could allow m I understand the cause of several unexplained comas and thus account for subsequent neuro-cognitive disorders. “Their management is necessary even if there are still many unknowns about their origin, their development and their treatments,” concludes the neurologist.

David T

David T is a french Medical student, during its free time, he is writing for The Medical Progress and helping us to understand better the Coronavirus.

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