Doctors have discovered brain damage in children with a mysterious syndrome associated with COVID-19
A new study describes some painful and possibly long-term neurological complications in children who develop a mysterious syndrome associated with COVID-19. They can suffer from headaches, muscle weakness, and significant damage to the brain. Writes about this Gizmodo.
A study published in JAMA Neurology addresses cases of a mysterious disease in children. It is now commonly known as multisystem inflammatory syndrome, or MIS-C.
MIS-C is a rare but potentially life-threatening phenomenon that occurs during or shortly after infection with coronavirus. Its symptoms can spread throughout the body. Among them are fever, skin rashes, breathing problems and a sudden drop in blood pressure, which can deprive the organs of oxygen and lead to death. The syndrome, most likely, is the result of a violation of the immune response to the virus, and not the symptoms caused directly by the infection.
This study involved 27 children suffering from symptoms consistent with MIS-C. Of these, four had neurological symptoms: headaches, stiff neck, sensitivity to light, problems with speech, swallowing, and walking. These four experienced muscle weakness, and two had reduced reflexes. The tests showed evidence of damage to the corpus callosum of the brain - an area that helps both sides of the brain communicate with each other. Interestingly, not one of the children reported respiratory symptoms, despite the fact that everyone had a positive coronavirus test or the presence of antibodies to it.
“Children with COVID-19 may have neurological symptoms affecting both the central and peripheral nervous systems,” the authors write. They also warned that doctors should consider infecting children with neurological symptoms with coronavirus and damaging the spleen of the corpus callosum (the thickest part of the brain structure), even if they do not have typical respiratory symptoms.
Most children infected with the coronavirus do not have serious symptoms, and sometimes flu symptoms appear. MIS-C is considered a rare condition and is treatable with existing anti-inflammatory drugs, especially if detected early. But now we have no real understanding of how often it happens, why some children develop it or how to prevent this disease. It's not just kids who need to worry about the neurological issues associated with COVID-19; some adults also have similar complications during or after infection. How many survivors will have to live with lingering neurological or other health problems is an unanswered question.
During the study, all four children needed intensive care after the development of the disease and were subjected to mechanical ventilation. While two children recovered completely, two moved in a wheelchair due to weakness of the lower extremities.
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