General, Research, Technology

Coronavirus enters the brain of some patients

I don’t know about you, but me the latest news aboutCoVID-19 is somewhat disturbing. In the vast majority of cases, CoVID-19 proceeds as a respiratory infection that causes fever, fatigue, sore throat, cough and, in more severe cases, shortness of breath and shortness of breath. However, recent scientific studies have shown that the SARS-CoV-2 virus has supposedly already mutated into 30 different strains, and many infected do not experience any symptoms, but remain contagious. Even more alarming is the evidence that more than a third of patients have neurological symptoms, such as severe encephalitis, which causes inflammation and swelling of the brain.

It turned out that coronavirus can cause neurological diseases

A virus that can do anything

So, despite the “classic symptoms”CoVID-19, we know that coronavirus is also able to infect cells outside the airways and cause a wide range of symptoms, from gastrointestinal diseases (diarrhea and nausea) to heart damage and bleeding disorders. Unfortunately, we must add to this list neurological symptoms. According to The Conversation, several recent studies have revealed the presence of neurological symptoms in patients with CoVID-19. Some of these studies report cases where symptoms have been observed in individuals. Several reports have described CoVID-19 infected patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome.

Guillain-Barré Syndrome Is a neurological disorder in whichthe immune system responds to infection and ultimately erroneously attacks nerve cells, leading to muscle weakness and ultimately to paralysis.

In other cases, studies have described severeencephalitis in a patient of CoVID-19 (inflammation and swelling of the brain) and stroke in healthy young people with mild symptoms of CoVID-19. Scientists from China and France drew attention to this feature of the new coronavirus and studied the prevalence of neurological disorders in CoVID-19 patients. The results showed that 36% of patients have neurological symptoms. Many of these symptoms were mild and were manifested by headache or dizziness, which could be caused by a strong immune response from the body. But other more specific and more severe symptoms were also noticed, including loss of smell or taste, muscle weakness, stroke, cramps and hallucinations.

This is how MR scans look

Researchers note that these symptoms are more likelyobserved in severe cases, with estimates ranging from 46% to 84% of cases, with severe neurological symptoms. Changes in consciousness, such as disorientation, inattention and motor disorders, were also observed in severe cases and persisted after recovery. But why is this happening?

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Swelling and brain damage

SARS-CoV-2, experts believe, may becomecause of neurological disorders. This occurs either directly due to infection of the brain, or as a result of an excessive reaction of the immune system to coronavirus. So, recent studies on the deaths of CoVID-19 have revealed a new coronavirus in the infected brain. It has also been suggested that an infection of the olfactory neurons in the nose can contribute to the spread of the virus from the respiratory tract to the brain.

Human brain cells express proteinACE2 on its surface. ACE2 is a protein that is involved in the regulation of blood pressure and is a receptor that the virus uses to penetrate and infect cells. This protein was found on endothelial cells lining the blood vessels and responsible for the many functions of the vascular system. Infected endothelial cells can allow the virus to pass from the respiratory tract to the bloodstream and then to the brain, where the multiplication of viral particles can cause neurological symptoms.

In especially severe cases, rare neurological diseases develop.

Experts say that SARS-CoV-2 leads to a very strong immune system response. Such an immune response can cause the development of Guillain – Barré syndrome and other neurological symptoms.

CoVID-19 is not a unique virus

No matter how special the coronavirus may seem to usSARS-CoV-2, it is not a unique respiratory virus that can infect the brain. Influenza, measles and other respiratory infections can affect the brain or central nervous system and cause serious neurological diseases. Moreover, it turned out that other coronaviruses - and I recall that at least 40 of them - infect the brain and also cause neurological disorders. So, seasonal coronavirus HCoV-OC43, as a rule, causes a very mild ARVI, but encephalitis can become a complication. Fortunately, respiratory viruses entering the brain are rare. But given the rapid spread of CoVID-19 around the planet, there is a risk of developing serious neurological diseases in critically ill patients.

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However, it’s not hard to worry and panicworth it. Of course, if you follow all the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO). Do not forget that in the majority of infected coronavirus proceeds in a mild form. This means that compliance with the self-isolation regime applies to everyone except those of us who are at the forefront of the virus: doctors, couriers, pharmacists, salespeople, and many other brave people who support society in this difficult time. But it is also impossible to underestimate the danger of coronavirus - this can lead to more infections and deaths. Take care of yourself and be healthy.