Apart from the known and possibly lifelong damage that the coronavirus inflicts on the lungs, new studies have found a direct correlation between brain malfunction and the vicious illness, with almost one-third of hospitalized patients in the US showing this trend.
This new revelation has dawned upon the researchers at the Northwestern Medicine in Chicago, who have claimed that almost one-third of the patients hospitalized with COVID-19 have developed encephalopathy, which is primarily a degeneration of brain function. The study was conducted on 509 COVID patients within the hospital network in Chicago and its suburbs and was published on Monday in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology The team of medical researchers explored the neurologic manifestations of COVID and found some were present in 82.3% of the patients during the course of their hospitalization for the disease.
So far, a total of more than 415,000 people in the U.S. have been hospitalized with the disease, which has killed more than 210,000 Americans among nearly 7.5 million infected by the virus. Going by the numbers, mental illnesses and brain malfunction quite likely needs to be addressed on a national level.
To understand what encephalopathy is- it is a group of disorders that represent “a serious health problem that, without treatment, can cause temporary or permanent brain damage.’’ The severity of this definition has caused more of an alarm amongst medical professionals, especially in the light of numerous patients being tested positive, including President Trump.
As reported by USA Today, “Encephalopathy, which is characterized by altered mental function ranging from mild confusion to coma, is the most severe neurologic manifestation of COVID-19,” said Dr. Igor Koralnik, a professor of neurology at Northwestern University who treats patients in the Northwestern Medicine healthcare system.
Dr. Richard Temes, director of the Center for Neurocritical Care at Northwell Health in Manhasset, New York, said, “This study highlights that for survivors of COVID-19 when they survive the infection, their recovery is just beginning. These patients can have longstanding and lingering effects.’’ The doctor also added that even though the study examined patients at hospitals in the Chicago area, the results are applicable nationally because COVID doesn’t respect boundaries, borders or geography.
According to the study, known symptoms include muscle pain, headaches (37.7%), encephalopathy, dizziness, and disorders of taste and smell.