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      Neurological Involvement in COVID-19 and Potential Mechanisms: A Review

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          Abstract

          As the current understanding of COVID-19 continues to evolve, a synthesis of the literature on the neurological impact of this novel virus may help inform clinical management and highlight potentially important avenues of investigation. Additionally, understanding the potential mechanisms of neurologic injury may guide efforts to better detect and ameliorate these complications. In this review, we synthesize a range of clinical observations and initial case series describing potential neurologic manifestations of COVID-19 and place these observations in the context of coronavirus neuro-pathophysiology as it may relate to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Reported nervous system manifestations range from anosmia and ageusia, to cerebral hemorrhage and infarction. While the volume of COVID-19-related case studies continues to grow, previous work examining related viruses suggests potential mechanisms through which the novel coronavirus may impact the CNS and result in neurological complications. Namely, animal studies examining the SARS-CoV have implicated the angiotensin-converting-enzyme-2 receptor as a mediator of coronavirus-related neuronal damage and have shown that SARS-CoV can infect cerebrovascular endothelium and brain parenchyma, the latter predominantly in the medial temporal lobe, resulting in apoptosis and necrosis. Human postmortem brain studies indicate that human coronavirus variants and SARS-CoV can infect neurons and glia, implying SARS-CoV-2 may have similar neurovirulence. Additionally, studies have demonstrated an increase in cytokine serum levels as a result of SARS-CoV infection, consistent with the notion that cytokine overproduction and toxicity may be a relevant potential mechanism of neurologic injury, paralleling a known pathway of pulmonary injury. We also discuss evidence that suggests that SARS-CoV-2 may be a vasculotropic and neurotropic virus. Early reports suggest COVID-19 may be associated with severe neurologic complications, and several plausible mechanisms exist to account for these observations. A heightened awareness of the potential for neurologic involvement and further investigation into the relevant pathophysiology will be necessary to understand and ultimately mitigate SARS-CoV-2-associated neurologic injury.

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          Most cited references 86

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          Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China

          Summary Background A recent cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China, was caused by a novel betacoronavirus, the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). We report the epidemiological, clinical, laboratory, and radiological characteristics and treatment and clinical outcomes of these patients. Methods All patients with suspected 2019-nCoV were admitted to a designated hospital in Wuhan. We prospectively collected and analysed data on patients with laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV infection by real-time RT-PCR and next-generation sequencing. Data were obtained with standardised data collection forms shared by WHO and the International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infection Consortium from electronic medical records. Researchers also directly communicated with patients or their families to ascertain epidemiological and symptom data. Outcomes were also compared between patients who had been admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) and those who had not. Findings By Jan 2, 2020, 41 admitted hospital patients had been identified as having laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV infection. Most of the infected patients were men (30 [73%] of 41); less than half had underlying diseases (13 [32%]), including diabetes (eight [20%]), hypertension (six [15%]), and cardiovascular disease (six [15%]). Median age was 49·0 years (IQR 41·0–58·0). 27 (66%) of 41 patients had been exposed to Huanan seafood market. One family cluster was found. Common symptoms at onset of illness were fever (40 [98%] of 41 patients), cough (31 [76%]), and myalgia or fatigue (18 [44%]); less common symptoms were sputum production (11 [28%] of 39), headache (three [8%] of 38), haemoptysis (two [5%] of 39), and diarrhoea (one [3%] of 38). Dyspnoea developed in 22 (55%) of 40 patients (median time from illness onset to dyspnoea 8·0 days [IQR 5·0–13·0]). 26 (63%) of 41 patients had lymphopenia. All 41 patients had pneumonia with abnormal findings on chest CT. Complications included acute respiratory distress syndrome (12 [29%]), RNAaemia (six [15%]), acute cardiac injury (five [12%]) and secondary infection (four [10%]). 13 (32%) patients were admitted to an ICU and six (15%) died. Compared with non-ICU patients, ICU patients had higher plasma levels of IL2, IL7, IL10, GSCF, IP10, MCP1, MIP1A, and TNFα. Interpretation The 2019-nCoV infection caused clusters of severe respiratory illness similar to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus and was associated with ICU admission and high mortality. Major gaps in our knowledge of the origin, epidemiology, duration of human transmission, and clinical spectrum of disease need fulfilment by future studies. Funding Ministry of Science and Technology, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, National Natural Science Foundation of China, and Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Commission.
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            Epidemiological and clinical characteristics of 99 cases of 2019 novel coronavirus pneumonia in Wuhan, China: a descriptive study

            Summary Background In December, 2019, a pneumonia associated with the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) emerged in Wuhan, China. We aimed to further clarify the epidemiological and clinical characteristics of 2019-nCoV pneumonia. Methods In this retrospective, single-centre study, we included all confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV in Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital from Jan 1 to Jan 20, 2020. Cases were confirmed by real-time RT-PCR and were analysed for epidemiological, demographic, clinical, and radiological features and laboratory data. Outcomes were followed up until Jan 25, 2020. Findings Of the 99 patients with 2019-nCoV pneumonia, 49 (49%) had a history of exposure to the Huanan seafood market. The average age of the patients was 55·5 years (SD 13·1), including 67 men and 32 women. 2019-nCoV was detected in all patients by real-time RT-PCR. 50 (51%) patients had chronic diseases. Patients had clinical manifestations of fever (82 [83%] patients), cough (81 [82%] patients), shortness of breath (31 [31%] patients), muscle ache (11 [11%] patients), confusion (nine [9%] patients), headache (eight [8%] patients), sore throat (five [5%] patients), rhinorrhoea (four [4%] patients), chest pain (two [2%] patients), diarrhoea (two [2%] patients), and nausea and vomiting (one [1%] patient). According to imaging examination, 74 (75%) patients showed bilateral pneumonia, 14 (14%) patients showed multiple mottling and ground-glass opacity, and one (1%) patient had pneumothorax. 17 (17%) patients developed acute respiratory distress syndrome and, among them, 11 (11%) patients worsened in a short period of time and died of multiple organ failure. Interpretation The 2019-nCoV infection was of clustering onset, is more likely to affect older males with comorbidities, and can result in severe and even fatal respiratory diseases such as acute respiratory distress syndrome. In general, characteristics of patients who died were in line with the MuLBSTA score, an early warning model for predicting mortality in viral pneumonia. Further investigation is needed to explore the applicability of the MuLBSTA score in predicting the risk of mortality in 2019-nCoV infection. Funding National Key R&D Program of China.
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              Clinical course and risk factors for mortality of adult inpatients with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China: a retrospective cohort study

              Summary Background Since December, 2019, Wuhan, China, has experienced an outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Epidemiological and clinical characteristics of patients with COVID-19 have been reported but risk factors for mortality and a detailed clinical course of illness, including viral shedding, have not been well described. Methods In this retrospective, multicentre cohort study, we included all adult inpatients (≥18 years old) with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 from Jinyintan Hospital and Wuhan Pulmonary Hospital (Wuhan, China) who had been discharged or had died by Jan 31, 2020. Demographic, clinical, treatment, and laboratory data, including serial samples for viral RNA detection, were extracted from electronic medical records and compared between survivors and non-survivors. We used univariable and multivariable logistic regression methods to explore the risk factors associated with in-hospital death. Findings 191 patients (135 from Jinyintan Hospital and 56 from Wuhan Pulmonary Hospital) were included in this study, of whom 137 were discharged and 54 died in hospital. 91 (48%) patients had a comorbidity, with hypertension being the most common (58 [30%] patients), followed by diabetes (36 [19%] patients) and coronary heart disease (15 [8%] patients). Multivariable regression showed increasing odds of in-hospital death associated with older age (odds ratio 1·10, 95% CI 1·03–1·17, per year increase; p=0·0043), higher Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score (5·65, 2·61–12·23; p<0·0001), and d-dimer greater than 1 μg/mL (18·42, 2·64–128·55; p=0·0033) on admission. Median duration of viral shedding was 20·0 days (IQR 17·0–24·0) in survivors, but SARS-CoV-2 was detectable until death in non-survivors. The longest observed duration of viral shedding in survivors was 37 days. Interpretation The potential risk factors of older age, high SOFA score, and d-dimer greater than 1 μg/mL could help clinicians to identify patients with poor prognosis at an early stage. Prolonged viral shedding provides the rationale for a strategy of isolation of infected patients and optimal antiviral interventions in the future. Funding Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences Innovation Fund for Medical Sciences; National Science Grant for Distinguished Young Scholars; National Key Research and Development Program of China; The Beijing Science and Technology Project; and Major Projects of National Science and Technology on New Drug Creation and Development.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                ghazal_aghagoli@brown.edu
                Journal
                Neurocrit Care
                Neurocrit Care
                Neurocritical Care
                Springer US (New York )
                1541-6933
                1556-0961
                13 July 2020
                : 1-10
                Affiliations
                [1 ]GRID grid.40263.33, ISNI 0000 0004 1936 9094, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, ; Providence, RI USA
                [2 ]GRID grid.40263.33, ISNI 0000 0004 1936 9094, Department of Neurosurgery, , Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, ; Providence, RI USA
                [3 ]GRID grid.40263.33, ISNI 0000 0004 1936 9094, Carney Institute for Brain Science, , Brown University, ; Providence, RI USA
                [4 ]GRID grid.40263.33, ISNI 0000 0004 1936 9094, Department of Neuroscience, , Brown University, ; Providence, RI USA
                [5 ]Norman Prince Neurosciences Institute at Lifespan, Providence, RI USA
                [6 ]GRID grid.240588.3, ISNI 0000 0001 0557 9478, Department of Neurosurgery, , Rhode Island Hospital, ; Providence, RI USA
                [7 ]GRID grid.430387.b, ISNI 0000 0004 1936 8796, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, ; Piscataway, NJ USA
                [8 ]GRID grid.38142.3c, ISNI 000000041936754X, Harvard Medical School, ; Boston, MA USA
                [9 ]GRID grid.32224.35, ISNI 0000 0004 0386 9924, Division of Pediatric Critical Care, Department of Pediatrics, , Massachusetts General Hospital, ; Boston, USA
                [10 ]Departamento de Neurología, Hospital Clínica Bíblica, San José, Costa Rica
                [11 ]GRID grid.493374.e, ISNI 0000 0001 2160 7539, ILAE-Latin America, , International League Against Epilepsy, ; Flower Mound, USA
                Article
                1049
                10.1007/s12028-020-01049-4
                7358290
                32661794
                © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature and Neurocritical Care Society 2020

                This article is made available via the PMC Open Access Subset for unrestricted research re-use and secondary analysis in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for the duration of the World Health Organization (WHO) declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic.

                Funding
                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/100000060, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases;
                Award ID: R25AI140490
                Categories
                Review Article

                Emergency medicine & Trauma

                coronavirus, neurology, cerebrovascular stroke, inflammation

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