Delirium or mental confusion accompanied by fever could be an early symptom of COVID-19, especially in elderly patients, according to a review of studies.
The research, published in the Journal of Clinical Immunology and Immunotherapy, suggests that in addition to the loss of the senses of taste and smell and the headaches that occur in the days before the onset of cough and breathing difficulties , some patients also develop delirium.
As such, the manifestation of this state of confusion, when accompanied by a high fever, should be considered as an early marker of the disease, especially in elderly patients.
“Delirium is a state of confusion in which the person feels disconnected from reality, as if they are dreaming,” explained Javier Correa of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) in Spain.
“You have to be on the alert, especially in an epidemiological situation like this, because an individual showing certain signs of confusion can be a sign of infection,” said Correa, who carried out this study at the University of Bordeaux in France.
Correa, with UOC researcher Diego Redolar Ripoll, reviewed the scientific work published on the effects of COVID-19 in relation to the central nervous system, i.e. the brain.
The review found that there are growing indications that the novel coronavirus also affects the central nervous system and produces neurocognitive alterations, such as headaches and delirium, as well as psychotic episodes.
“The main hypotheses that explain how the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus affects the brain point to three possible causes: hypoxia or neuronal oxygen deficiency, inflammation of brain tissue due to a cytokine storm and the fact that the virus has the ability to cross the blood – brain barrier to directly invade the brain, ”Correa said.
He noted that any of these three factors can lead to delirium.
Evidence of hypoxia-related brain damage was seen in autopsies performed on patients who died from the infection, and it was possible to isolate the virus from brain tissue, Correa said.
According to the researchers, delirium, cognitive deficits and behavioral abnormalities are most likely to be the result of systemic inflammation of the organ and a state of hypoxia, which also causes inflammation of neural tissue and damage in areas such as the hippocampus.
This is associated with the cognitive dysfunctions and behavioral alterations exhibited by patients with delirium, they said.
(This story was not edited by GalacticGaming staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)