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dcyphr | Central nervous system manifestations of COVID-19: A systematic review
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Contributors
Daniel Amuedo

I am a premedical student at Missouri St...

Janet Hsu

Hi! I am a Molecular, Cellular, and Deve...

Leanna Zelle

I am a pre medical student at Missouri S...

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to discuss the effect of COVID-19 on the central nervous system (CNS). Databases were searched for relevant articles. Very little information is currently available. However, two studies provide documented data. The involvement of the central nervous system in COVOID-19 infections is largely unexplored and understudied. However, it is very likely that there is neurological involvement in severe patients.


Introduction

Coronavirus primarily targets the respiratory systems, but it can invade the central nervous system as well. The symptoms of coronavirus appear in roughly 5 days. Mild patients have symptoms of headaches, cough, fever, and fatigue. In the most severe cases, patients can have pneumonia, multiorgan failure, and severe respiratory or cardiac issues. However, coronavirus infections are associated with neurological issues as well. Seizures, encephalitis, and changes in mental status have all been reported. Once the virus enters the body via the olfactory bulb it causes inflammation and demyelination. Demyelination causes the loss of a protective fatty layer that covers neurons.

Methods

Databases were systematically searched for related articles. In various databases certain search words were used to acquire better results.


Results

Two articles were discovered that observed the involvement of COVID-19 with the central nervous system. One study found neurological conditions in 25% of patients. However, no specific tests were executed to further study the observation.


Discussion

Data on the evidence of central nervous system involvement is scarce and low quality. Only one study reported 25% of patients with a central nervous system issue. It is possible that patients becoming severe is a result of increased central nervous system infection. COVID-19 is similar to other coronaviruses in their viral structure and method of infection. It is possible that the mechanism the other coronaviruses use can mirror what COVID-19 may do. For instance SARS-CoV has been associated with neurological issues. So, it is likely that there are neurological issues in SARS-CoV-2. They must be carefully observed and investigated.


Conclusion

Neurological involvement has not been studied appropriately yet. Despite this it remains to be highly likely that COVID-19 could infect the nervous system and cause more severe symptoms. Further data collection is required.