March 23, 2022

A Near-Global Slowing of Background Activity and Epileptic Discharges in Children With Mild to Moderately Symptomatic COVID-19 Infection: An Electro-Neurophysiological Study

Abstract found in PubMed

Background: To assess the functional involvement of the central nervous system (CNS) via quantitative electroencephalography (EEG) analysis in children with mild to moderate COVID-19 infection who were otherwise previously healthy children.

Methods: This prospective, case-control study was conducted between June and September 2020. Sleep EEG records of at least 40 min were planned for children who tested positive for COVID-19 using real-time PCR analysis and within 4-6 months post-recovery. All of the EEG analyses in this study were performed on an Ubuntu 20.04.2 LTS Operating System with the developed software using Python 3.7.6. The quantitative analysis of the epileptic discharges within the EEG records was performed using random forest after elimination of the artifacts with a model training accuracy of 98% for each sample data point. The frequency analysis was performed using the Welch method.

Results: Among the age and sex-matched groups, the global mean frequency was significantly lower among the COVID-19 patients, with a P-value of 0.004. The spike slow-wave and sharp slow-wave indices were significantly higher in the patients when compared to the controls. The mean frequency values were significantly lower in almost all of the electrodes recording the frontal, central, and occipital areas. For the temporal and parietal areas, those significantly low mean frequencies were limited to the right hemisphere.

Conclusion: A near-global involvement of background activity with decreased frequency, in addition to epileptic discharges, was recorded in mild to moderately COVID-19 infected children post-infection.