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Why post-COVID neurological symptoms are much more frequent in young adults – experts reveal

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Even after seven months, a significant number of people who have had coronavirus have memory, multitasking, processing speed, and focus issues.

Experts describe the situation in-depth and warn that more research is needed to identify all of the disease’s repercussions.

Many studies focus on the long-term effects of the infection, such as potential post-coronavirus symptoms or prolonged COVID, which can last for weeks or months after a patient has been infected.

Several specialists agree that the risk of persistent symptoms after being infected with the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is unknown, and the symptoms of long-term COVID are unknown.

Long-term COVID has been linked to more than 200 symptoms, many of which are vague and common in the general population, particularly among young people, such as fatigue, disturbed sleep, difficulty concentrating, lack of appetite, and muscular or joint discomfort.

As a result, in the discussion over the dangers and benefits of immunization in this age group, a precise evaluation of the risk of chronic COVID is critical.

“We have neurological patients that we can divide, many of them, into those we saw during the acute phase, those who suffered from headaches, smell problems, and some of them with a higher incidence of both hemorrhagic and ischemic strokes,” Jaime Masjuan, the head of the Neurology Service at the Ramón y Cajal University Hospital in Madrid, said in a recent interview about the problems of prolonged COVID in his patients.

“Those who were admitted to the ICU developed neurological complications as a result of being intubated for so long. The new variant, Omicron, has clearly reduced the occurrence of this group of acute conditions. What we’ve got now is a group of people who, after all the waves, are dealing with the consequences of all these acute COVID disorders, such as stroke or ICU admission, chronic problems, such as changes in smell and taste, and so on. They’ve all been settled over time.”

“It should be highlighted that all of these symptoms are far more common in young individuals than in older ones,” he added.

This symptomatology is most common in middle-aged persons who have had a moderate COVID, and it often emerges after the infection has disappeared with absolutely no symptoms. As a result, there are a number of unknowns that will need to be investigated further: what is the relationship between COVID and the collection of symptoms, and where can they be included.

“What are the most common side effects in all patients following a Covid infection?”

“Headaches are frequently caused by an infection that is in its early stages. This lasts for roughly three or four months after taking COVID. However, if they are well-treated and the issue is well-explained to these patients, the headache will go away after a few months.

“Similarly, we experience something similar with our senses of taste and smell, but the situation with Omicron is considerably less severe. People who had absolutely no smell or taste in the beginning, in the initial waves, gradually improved; some were left with weird smells, while others were able to detect some specific ones.”

But, as the expert concluded, “this has happened previously with various infections; it is not a new thing.”

In a recent scientific study published in the journal JAMA Network Open, it was discovered that roughly a quarter of COVID-19 patients had memory issues. Although patients who required hospitalization were more likely to experience “brain fog” as a result of illness, the study also discovered that some outpatients experienced cognitive loss.

COVID-19 patients, including those who were not hospitalized, can experience “brain fog” for months.

“We’re seeing long-term cognitive impairment across a range of age groups and disease severity.” In the study, Jacqueline Becker and colleagues from New York found that “they cannot function; they can’t think; their memory is impaired; they get confused when they drive places, that they don’t know how they got there.”

“Brain fog is a well-known word. Due to various circumstances, the condition existed prior to COVID-19. COVID-19 has a distinct profile and can last for more than 7 months following infection with the coronavirus,” says Ricardo Allegri, Conicet researcher and head of Cognitive Neurology, Neuropsychology, and Fleni Neuropsychiatry.

This institute dedicated to research and patient treatment in Argentina conducted a survey on symptoms.

45 patients with “brain fog” and 45 healthy controls were chosen for this study. “In general, the impact is on attention rather than memory,” Allegri said. In this study in Argentina, it was discovered that 30% of patients who had the coronavirus had attention problems, and 25% said their ability to tackle everyday problems had been impaired.

Each person who develops signs of brain fog “should have a medical consultation and a cognitive evaluation.” Specific rehabilitation can be done depending on the condition,” explained Dr. Allegri. Furthermore, brain fog recovery requires proper nutrition (the Mediterranean diet), social interaction with others, and physical activity.

The incidence of long COVID varies a lot, but it’s estimated to be between 10% and 15% of all patients, and it’s not always associated with the severity of the condition, though it’s more common in those who have had COVID-19 in a more serious way.

According to experts, this disease is most commonly found in middle-aged people, while cases have been observed in youngsters and teenagers as well. The reason behind this isn’t entirely known. The virus’s persistence is occasionally speculated, but if it comes following multisystem inflammatory syndrome, an inflammatory storm that affects some teens, it’s thought to be to blame for the symptoms’ persistence.

Image Credit: Getty

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