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Spectrum of Neurological Disorders Linked to SARS-CoV-2

Neurological manifestations include inflammatory CNS syndromes, encephalopathies, ischemic stroke

doctor examining his patient wearing oxygen mask

THURSDAY, July 9, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection is associated with a spectrum of neurological disorders, according to a study published online July 8 in Brain.

Ross W. Paterson, Ph.D., from the University College London Queen Square Institute of Neurology, and colleagues collected detailed clinical and paraclinical data from cases with COVID-19. Data were included from 43 patients: 29 were SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction positive, eight were probable, and six possible, according to World Health Organization criteria.

The researchers identified five major neurological categories: encephalopathies, inflammatory central nervous system (CNS) syndromes, ischemic strokes, peripheral neurological disorders, and miscellaneous disorders that did not fit these categories (10, 12, eight, eight, and five patients, respectively). The patients with encephalopathies had delirium/psychosis and no distinct abnormalities on magnetic resonance imaging or cerebrospinal fluid; nine of 10 made a full or partial recovery with supportive care only. The inflammatory CNS syndromes included encephalitis, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, and isolated myelitis; 10 patients were treated with corticosteroids and three received intravenous immunoglobulin. One patient made a full recovery, 10 made a partial recovery, and one died. One of eight patients with ischemic strokes died. Seven of the eight patients with peripheral neurological disorders had Guillain-Barré syndrome and one had brachial plexopathy; six made a partial and ongoing recovery.

"Doctors need to be aware of possible neurological effects, as early diagnosis can improve patient outcomes," Paterson said in a statement.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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