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How COVID-19 affects the brain

posted Jun 1, 2020, 1:33 PM by Dr. Curtis Cripe

Ever since the coronavirus outbreak started hitting the headlines in late January, the key information we have on the virus is that it can wreak havoc on your lungs. However, newer studies are also highlighting the possibility that COVID-19 can invade the brain, affect the neurons, impair functions like sense of smell, and potentially cause strokes, according to neuroengineering expert Dr. Curtis Cripe.

An airline worker admitted to a hospital in Detroit encountered disorientation while displaying symptoms connected to COVID-19 like fever, muscle pain, and cough. When doctors performed an MRI, they found certain parts of her brain appearing black - signaling brain damage brought on by inflammation. They labeled it Acute Necrotizing Encephalopathy or ANE - something that happens to flu sufferers.

In Wuhan, China, neurologists sifted through heath records of 214 patients who were hospitalized in the Union Hospital of Huazhong University of Science and Technology and found that 36 percent of the patients, around 65, complained of brain-related symptoms, Dr. Curtis Cripe adds. This is still a developing story on the novel coronavirus; the only silver lining we can gather from this is that experts should add nervous system-related symptoms as a sign. Researchers should also add this to their considerations as they search for a vaccine.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is currently working with other experts and specialists in a committee created by the White House and NASA to form protocols and procedures for TeleHealth and TeleMedicine during COVID-19. Outside of this official business, Dr. Curtis Cripe heads the NTL Group and studies ways to improve the lives of people living with brain injuries and individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.