Wed. Dec 1st, 2021


An MRI scan of a patient, the arrow points to a suspicious wound.

An MRI scan of a patient, the arrow indicates a suspicious wound.
Pictures: Bertley CM, et al / Jama Neurology

Researchers in California suspect that Covid-19 caused sudden onset of mental illness in at least two of their adolescent patients. Although they warn that an effective link remains uncertain, they say they have found evidence of antibody attacks in the brains of their patients after infection, which may help explain the psychological symptoms.

Some researchers have done so since the epidemic began Warn That Kovid-19 could contribute to a wave of nervous illness based on a history of previous epidemics. Study since then There is Showing Survivors of Covid-19 appear to be at higher risk for illnesses such as depression and anxiety. There are also some researchers and patient advocates Argued That long covid – the star of chronic symptoms reported by some survivors – may include a nervous breakdown.

Its pressure Just having Covid-19 can certainly affect a person’s mental health, such as a serious infection and post-hospitalization reactions. However, it is possible that the virus itself can directly affect the nervous system and the brain, even in mild cases, and these interactions can then lead to a higher risk of neurological and mental illness. Since mental illness is unfortunately common and often associated with a variety of effects, it can be difficult to show cause and effect from any one subject, including viral infections.

But doctors at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Benioff Children’s Hospital say they have come across a few cases in the past year where Covid-19 appears to be the primary trigger for sudden mental illness in patients. In new paper Published At JAMA Neurology on Monday, they described adolescent patients who, after a confirmed but mild or asymptomatic case of Covid-19, developed new documented psychological symptoms, including extreme mood swings, paranoid confusion, and suicidal ideation. It was during these events that the symptoms were linked to the infection, research author Sam Pleger, a UCSF neurologist, told Gizmodo.

In the spinal fluid of two patients, the team found antibodies to the coronavirus, known as SARS-COV-2, as well as autoantibodies to the nervous system. In one patient, these betrayal antibodies appear to target a gene responsible for the production of a protein called transcription factor 4 (TCF4), which is significant because of the variety of genes. Connected In mental disorders including schizophrenia. Patients had a history of some mental health problems, such as anxiety and ticks, but not in the amounts recorded by doctors.

A third adolescent patient did not have any antibodies in the nervous system, and it was determined that the most likely cause of their symptoms was an unknown drug that they had taken a few days earlier.

But with the other two, those antibodies indicate that the coronavirus can reach the nervous system and cause problems there. It may be that the virus is not directly causing these symptoms, but rather it is helping to create a self-destructive immune response.

“We know that Covid-19 is a powerful stimulant for increasing the inflammatory response, and one possible cause of these symptoms is that they are associated with this ‘generic’ increase in inflammation,” Pleasure explained in an email.

In two patients where Covid-19 was seen as a potential trigger, physicians chose to treat them with immunotherapy with steroids to reduce their inflammation. One patient seemed to respond well and stopped reporting confusion and tremors a month later. The second patient showed a modest response to immunotherapy, and within the six-month mark they were still improving but continued to have memory problems and attention problems.

The authors found other reports of similar period cases among adult Kovid-19 patients admitted to the hospital. Pleasure mentions that there have been immune-related problems after an infection Registered Before Covid-19, it was often associated with viral infections. In general this post-infection case seems rare, but there are still many unknowns.

“We don’t know at the moment how common it is with Covid-19 infection and at the same time a very large number of infected people may be the first to see patients,” Pleasure said.

Further research will be needed to better understand these events and to establish a definitive link between sudden mental illness and Covid-19, which the authors say they are now conducting.

“We are working to study a larger number of potentially follow-up patients, including post-covid neurologic and psychiatric symptoms,” Pleasure said. “We are able to compare such patients with ‘control’, i.e. patients after covid without neuropsychiatric symptoms.”



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