Coronavirus may present neurological symptoms before respiratory issues: Study

A review of neurological symptoms of Coronavirus infected patients was conducted and the results are published in the journal Annals of Neurology.


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Coronavirus may present neurological symptoms before respiratory issues: Study

A Northwestern medicine study reveals that COVID-19 poses a major threat to the entire nervous system, and its neurological symptoms may appear before cough or fever.

A review of neurological symptoms of Coronavirus infected patients was conducted and the results are published in the journal Annals of Neurology.

About half of the infected patients have neurological manifestations of Coronavirus, which include dizziness, difficulty concentrating, headache, decreased alertness, seizures, weakness, disorders of smell and taste, muscle pain.

It's important for public and physicians to be aware of this, because a COVID-19 infection may present with neurological symptoms initially, before any respiratory problems, cough or fever occur, said lead author of the review Dr Igor Koralink.

The review describes the different neurological conditions that may occur in Coronavirus infected patients and how to diagnose them, as well as likely pathogenic mechanisms.

This understanding is key to direct appropriate clinical management and treatment, Koralnik added.

Coronavirus may affect the entire nervous system, including spinal cord, brain and nerves as well as the muscles. There are many different ways Coronavirus can cause neurological dysfunction, he said.

Because Coronavirus may affect multiple organs of infected patients like heart, kidney, lungs even the brain may also suffer from lack of oxygenation or from clotting disorders that may lead to hemorrhagic strokes or ischemic.

Koralnik and his research team have formed a Neuro-Covid research team for retrospective analysis of all Coronavirus infected patients hospitalised at Northwestern Medicine to determine the type and frequency of neurological complications.

As there is limited information of Coronavirus about the long term outcome of neurologic manifestations, Koralnik also will follow some of those patients prospectively in his new outpatient Neuro-Covid clinic to determine if neurological problems are permanent or temporary.

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These studies will provide the foundation on how to manage, diagnose and treat the many neurologic manifestations of Coronavirus, he said.

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