New study claims Covid-19 can cause brain damage and possibly stroke
The COVID-19 virus can trigger an inflammatory response in the brain, leading to “stroke” damage in some areas as your body fights the virus, according to new research.
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health used an MRI scanner and found damage to the olfactory bulb in the brain, as well as damage to the brainstem.
The study was conducted on the brain tissue of 19 coronavirus patients, ages 5 to 73, who had suffered from the virus for various periods of time.
And since no coronavirus was found in the tissue, the scientists concluded that the damage was due to “the body’s inflammatory response to the virus.”
The researchers found damage caused by thinning and leakage of blood vessels in the brain in samples from patients who were battling the coronavirus.
But the study showed that the damage was not associated with symptoms of “lack of oxygen”.
Avindra Nath, clinical director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and senior author of the study, wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine:
“We found that the brains of patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 may be susceptible to damage to microvascular blood vessels.”
“Our results indicate that this may be caused by the body’s inflammatory response to the virus.
“We hope these results will help clinicians understand the full spectrum of problems that patients can suffer from.
“This is so that we can find the best treatment.
“So far, our results suggest that the damage we observed may not have been caused by SARS-CoV-2, which directly infects the brain.
“In the future, we plan to study how COVID-19 damages blood vessels in the brain and whether it causes the short and long term symptoms that we see in patients.”
Dr. Nath described himself as “totally surprised” to find brain damage among the samples, adding that the damage was multifocal and “usually associated with stroke and neuroinflammatory disease.”
Stroke-like complications were identified in ten patients, and scans revealed lesions “consistent with overflowing blood vessels.”
The total death toll from COVID-19 in the UK currently exceeds 81,000, of which 3,072,349 have been infected.