BREAKING! Virus News: Documented Cases Emerging Showing That COVID-19 Infection Could Lead To Parkinson's Disease
: Alarmingly three documented case studies have emerged of individuals developing Parkinson's-like symptoms in the weeks following infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Initially thought to be rare, there are now growing cases being reported by clinicians in Italy, UK, Germany and United States with more researchers and physicians paying more attention to this new development.
These documented cases provide important insights into potential long-term implications of COVID-19 infections and were published in the journal: Trends in Neurosciences. https://www.cell.com/trends/neurosciences/pdf/S0166-2236(20)30242-3.pdf?_returnURL=https%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS0166223620302423%3Fshowall%3Dtrue
The three published single-case reports indicate that COVID-19 patients have developed clinical parkinsonism, either in isolation or with other neurological deficits, within 2- 5 weeks of contracting SARS-CoV-2 [3–5].
The three patients were aged 35, 45 and 58 years and all of them had severe respiratory infection requiring hospitalization. Two of three patients responded with reduced parkinsonian symptoms upon administration of traditional dopaminergic medication, and the third patient recovered spontaneously. In all cases, brain imaging revealed reduced function of the nigrostriatal dopamine system, akin to Parkinson’s Disease. None of them had a family history of Parkinson’s Disease, or a history with signs of prodromal PD, and one patient underwent genetic testing but did not carry any Parkinson’s Disease risk variants.
The case reports and commentary in the journal was co-authored by Dr Patrik Brundin, M.D., Ph.D., of Van Andel Institute, Dr Avindra Nath, M.D., of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke of the National Institutes of Health, and Dr J. David Beckham, M.D., of University of Colorado.
Dr Brundin told Thailand Medical News, "As we continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic today, we also must consider its implications for the future. Evidence is mounting that the side effects of COVID-19 infection, such as inflammation and damage to the vascular system, could lay the foundation for development of Parkinson's disease. COVID-19 is clearly a major and ongoing public health threat, but the consequences of infection may end up being with us for years and decades to come."
Typically Parkinson's disease is a multi-system disorder that begins years or even decades before its hallmark movement-related symptoms appear. Growing evidence suggests Parkinson's arises from a complex mix of factors that vary from person to person, including age, g
enetic predisposition, history of infections and exposure to certain environmental factors such as pollution or pesticides.
It has been known that viral infections in particular may play a role in triggering the earliest stages of Parkinson's by setting off a cascade that result in the death of brain cells that produce dopamine, a vital chemical messenger whose absence leads to movement issues such as freezing and tremor.
Alarmingly the three cases referenced in the commentary occurred in individuals without a family history of Parkinson's and without any known early Parkinson's symptoms. Two saw an improvement in their Parkinson's-like symptoms following treatment with traditional Parkinson's medications that replenish dopamine; the third recovered spontaneously. Although these medications treat symptoms, they often have challenging side effects and do not slow or stop Parkinson's progression.
Dr Nath added, "SARS-CoV-2 is considered a respiratory virus, however, its virulence and pathogenic potential particularly for neurological complications continues to surprise us. Some patients can develop severe neurological manifestations despite mild respiratory symptoms."
From details and evidence of these case studies and what is known about the mechanisms underpinning Parkinson's, Dr Brundin, Dr Nath and Dr Beckham suggest three possible ways that COVID-19 infection could contribute to Parkinson's onset:
1) As COVID-19 is linked to blood clots and other problems with the vascular system, including in the brain, these vascular insults could cause damage to the area of the brain that produces dopamine, which subsequently could result in a loss of dopamine that mirrors Parkinson's.
2) Since there is a demonstrated link between chronic inflammation and Parkinson's, it is possible that severe inflammation resulting from COVID-19 could trigger brain inflammation and cell death associated with Parkinson's.
3) Also SARS-CoV-2 may be a neurotropic virus, meaning that it attacks the nervous system. Because of this, COVID-19 and Parkinson's share some early symptoms such as loss of sense of smell and is-sues with the gut. Additionally, infection with SARS-CoV-2 could lead to an increase in alpha-synuclein, a protein associated with Parkinson's (this has been seen in other viral infections).
While these cases do not prove that COVID-19 infection directly causes Parkinson's, they do suggest a troubling possible relationship between the virus and subsequent neurodegenerative disorders.
Dr Beckham warned, "The large number of respiratory cases due to SARS-CoV2 has allowed us to understand and analyze important neurologic complications of severe respiratory virus infections," "It is important that we continue our scientific investigations into this new virus so we understand all of the short and long-term complications of the COVID-19 pandemic."
The researchers call for long-term studies that follow individuals who were infected with COVID-19 to monitor them for Parkinson's development.
Many researchers are already predicting that there will be massive increase in neurological disease including Parkinson’s as a result of the current COVID-19 disease. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7273038/
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