By and large, pediatric COVID patients do really well. On rare occasion however, they can develop something called multisystem inflammatory syndrome of children (MIS-C), which, as the name implies, can involve multiple systems throughout the body. By and large, again, with appropriate care, these children do well.
A small number of children with MIS-C will experience involvement of the nervous system. This can involve not only the central nervous system including the brain and spinal cord, but also the peripheral nervous system which means the nerves. And there are two British researchers who have taken the lead in terms of describing the neurological involvement in the pediatric population as it relates to MIS-C, a consequence of COVID-19. Continue reading
How does SARS-CoV-2 reach the brain? This is actually a critically important question for which we now have meaningful answers. In this podcast, I have the honor of interviewing Dr. Frank Heppner. His research uses electron microscopy to visualize intact coronavirus particles in the human brain. We now know that COVID-19 is not just a respiratory disease but can affect various other parts of the body including the gastrointestinal system as well as the nervous system. One in three individuals with COVID-19 does in fact have neurological symptoms and we are going to explore this in our time together today. Continue reading
The term “long-haul COVID” has now entered our lexicon in relationship to this infectious disease. Unlike so many other infectious events, it looks like, in many people, COVID-19 is not monophasic. This means that a significant number of individuals have persistent symptoms for extended periods of time. This experience may now be affecting millions of people globally following their supposed “recovery.”
In fact, the NIH in December 2020 sponsored a meeting to call attention to this specific problem because of its global extent. Indeed, the long-term consequences of COVID-19 are now being described as a “second health crisis,” globally.
One of the common statements often repeated in the media about COVID-19 is that it is seemingly random in terms of both getting the virus and having a poor outcome. But, upon further inspection, that’s not what the actual science is revealing. As we move deeper into our involvement with this virus some important patterns are emerging that make it quite clear that COVID-19 does indeed discriminate.
In a recent article, Dr. Austin Perlmutter explored how COVID-19 is actually an “opportunistic infection,” meaning that it takes advantage of patients whose immune systems are not functioning optimally. In the past we would have considered less than optimal immune function to be a characteristic of people who have had, for example, chemotherapy or radiation treatment, exposure to immune-suppressing medications after organ transplantation, or a diagnosed autoimmune disease. But as Dr. Austin Perlmutter has made clear, we now need to broaden our scope and embrace the notion that so many of our most common degenerative conditions, from diabetes to obesity, actually compromise immune function and allow the SARS-CoV-2 virus the opportunity to do its dirty work. Continue reading