February 8, 2022

COVID Can Affect Brains of Hospitalized Kids

Article appeared in Health Day

The coronavirus can leave more than 40% of children hospitalized for COVID-19 with headaches and other lingering neurological symptoms, a new study claims.

And the kids who developed these headaches or experienced an altered mental status known as acute encephalopathy were more likely to need intensive care, said researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), in Pennsylvania.

“The SARS-CoV-2 virus can affect pediatric patients in different ways: It can cause acute disease, where symptomatic illness comes on soon after infection, or children may develop an inflammatory condition called MIS-C weeks after clearing the virus,” said lead study author Dr. Ericka Fink. She is a pediatric intensivist at the UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

The study findings were published recently in the journal Pediatric Neurology. They are the first insights from the pediatric arm of GCS-NeuroCOVID, an international, multicenter consortium aiming to understand how COVID-19 affects the brain and nervous system.

“One of the consortium’s big questions was whether neurological manifestations are similar or different in pediatric patients, depending on which of these two conditions they have,” Fink said in a hospital news release.