A small number of children who contracted the coronavirus suffered brain damage, according to a new study.
As Yahoo Life reported, ever since the coronavirus pandemic first emerged, it has been largely thought to spare children, instead mostly sickening the elderly or people with underlying health conditions. The health community estimates that fewer than half of children who are exposed to the virus even develop an active infection, and those who do almost uniformly fight it off without ever developing symptoms.
However, the virus has infected some children, and the ways in which it has affected those kids have been horrifying.
Specifically, as previously reported by The Inquisitr, some children sickened with the coronavirus developed what is known as multisystem inflammatory syndrome. Caused by the body’s immune system’s response to the virus, the syndrome is similar to Kawasaki Disease, which also primarily affects children. The illness causes blood vessels and organs to become inflamed.
Children who developed the condition have become so sick that they’ve required treatment on ventilators.
Now, researchers have determined that the children sickened with the illness have also suffered brain damage.
Specifically, a team of researchers from London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) looked at case reports from 27 children who had been sickened with the coronavirus to the point that they required hospitalization. Of those 27, four showed signs of brain damage, including muscle weakness and reduced reflexes. Further, of those four, three of them showed signs of slowed brain activity during an electroencephalography exam.
Fortunately, all of the children, including the four who were so sick that they developed brain damage, fully recovered.
That the children got sick with signs of brain damage is consistent with what doctors have suspected for some time; that the coronavirus can cause neurological problems as well as respiratory ones.
“Direct viral invasion of the central nervous system is a possible mechanism for neurological manifestations of COVID-19,” the team concluded.
The coronavirus is believed to enter the body’s cells through a sort of “doorway” called ACE2, which also exists within neurons in the brain, lending further support to the idea that the disease can affect more than just the respiratory system.
“This is further evidence COVID-19 can cause injury to the brain and nervous system,” said Dr. Ross Paterson from University College London.
However, Dr. Paterson, as well as the study’s principal researchers, all stressed that the study was small and limited, and that further research is necessary.