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COVID-19 - Impact on Your Brain

Updated: Mar 10, 2021

Keith Landry: The brain and COVID-19. Depression, memory loss, anxiety, limbs going numb. These are some long-term symptoms some COVID-19 patients are still experiencing. So how much long-term damage can the virus do to our brains and our bodies? Your Health News Network sat down with neurosurgeon Ravi Gandhi for some answers.

Keith: Scientists and doctors are working together to better understand the long-term damage COVID-19 can do to patients' brains and nervous systems. We just don't have data yet to track that over a few years. Patients across America reporting symptoms like loss of smell, ringing in their ears, numbness in their arms or legs. Dr. Ravi Gandhi is a neurosurgeon with Orlando Neurosurgery. He is treating some young COVID patients with serious brain conditions.

Dr. Gandhi: With lots of different viruses, they can insert themselves into nerve fibers or into nerve tissue and that can lead to disruption in signals and things like that that are being transmitted through our nerves. I have also seen young patients who have had these types of conditions, as well as patients who have presented with strokes or bleeds into their brain. These we believe are related to disruptions and coagulation or blood clotting based on the COVID-19 virus infection.

Keith: Many patients report having COVID-19 Brain Fog. They complain they are confused or cannot think clearly. Dr. Gandhi thinks this may be caused by the virus attacking several systems of the body. Dr. Gandhi: I think patients are experiencing this kind of confusion or altered sensorium because of that. And the length of that varies from patient to patient and is also one of those things in this COVID box that we would say, it is just very poorly understood. Keith: The pandemic is causing individuals to be isolated for long stretches of time creating stress, anxiety, and depression for some people. Dr. Gandhi: Humans are naturally grouped animals and being alone or being forced to be alone is having significant psychological impacts on patients. Keith: The neurosurgeon points out the medical community has had to quickly learn all they can about the virus and how to treat it during the last several months. Dr. Gandhi: Our mortality rate is decreasing exponentially.. Our knowledge and understanding of how to treat patients and some of the side effects is increasing rapidly. Keith: It is important to consult your primary care physician and take ownership of your health when you are recovering from COVID-19, or if you have not had the disease. Dr. Gandhi: Maintaining good physical health through exercise and diet is very, very important to be able to fare well through this course, through this pandemic that we're in right now. Keith: Johns Hopkins University continues its research on the long-term effects of COVID-19 on the brain. If you want to learn more about Dr. Gandhi's practice, just visit Related Topics

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