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J Psychosom Res ; 162: 111046, 2022 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2041977


OBJECTIVE: Psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES) resemble epileptic seizures but are not due to underlying epileptic activity and in some cases coexist alongside epilepsy. We described the clinical characteristics of patients with PNES as reported in the literature from the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. We evaluated differences between patients with a diagnosis made immediately before the pandemic (pPNES) and those newly diagnosed during it (nPNES). METHODS: A systematic search with individual patient analysis of PNES cases published since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak was performed. Differences between pPNES and nPNES were analyzed using Chi-square or Fisher exact test. RESULTS: Eleven articles were included, with 133 patients (106 pPNES and 27 nPNES). In the pPNES group, PNES frequency increased during the pandemic in 20/106 patients, whereas in 78/106, the frequency remained stable or decreased. nPNES was associated with higher risks of SARS-CoV-2 infection and epilepsy diagnosis, whereas psychiatric comorbidities were less frequent. CONCLUSIONS: During the pandemic, most patients with pPNES remained stable or improved, whereas nPNES was associated with a lower burden of psychiatric comorbidities. These intriguing findings suggest that, at least in some patients, the COVID-19 pandemic may not necessarily lead to worsening in the frequency of PNES and quality of life.

COVID-19 , Epilepsy , COVID-19/epidemiology , Electroencephalography , Epilepsy/diagnosis , Epilepsy/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , Quality of Life/psychology , SARS-CoV-2 , Seizures/diagnosis
Front Neurol ; 12: 644317, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1210488


Agitation is a behavioral syndrome characterized by increased, often undirected, motor activity, restlessness, aggressiveness, and emotional distress. According to several observations, agitation prevalence ranges from 30 to 50% in Alzheimer's disease, 30% in dementia with Lewy bodies, 40% in frontotemporal dementia, and 40% in vascular dementia (VaD). With an overall prevalence of about 30%, agitation is the third most common neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) in dementia, after apathy and depression, and it is even more frequent (80%) in residents of nursing homes. The pathophysiological mechanism underlying agitation is represented by a frontal lobe dysfunction, mostly involving the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), respectively, meaningful in selecting the salient stimuli and subsequent decision-making and behavioral reactions. Furthermore, increased sensitivity to noradrenergic signaling has been observed, possibly due to a frontal lobe up-regulation of adrenergic receptors, as a reaction to the depletion of noradrenergic neurons within the locus coeruleus (LC). Indeed, LC neurons mainly project toward the OFC and ACC. These observations may explain the abnormal reactivity to weak stimuli and the global arousal found in many patients who have dementia. Furthermore, agitation can be precipitated by several factors, e.g., the sunset or low lighted environments as in the sundown syndrome, hospitalization, the admission to nursing residencies, or changes in pharmacological regimens. In recent days, the global pandemic has increased agitation incidence among dementia patients and generated higher distress levels in patients and caregivers. Hence, given the increasing presence of this condition and its related burden on society and the health system, the present point of view aims at providing an extensive guide to facilitate the identification, prevention, and management of acute and chronic agitation in dementia patients.

JAMA Netw Open ; 4(3): e211489, 2021 03 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1130417


Importance: There is evidence of central nervous system impairments associated with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection, including encephalopathy. Multimodal monitoring of patients with COVID-19 may delineate the specific features of COVID-19-related encephalopathy and guide clinical management. Objectives: To investigate clinical, biological, and brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings in association with electroencephalographic (EEG) features for patients with COVID-19, and to better refine the features of COVID-19-related encephalopathy. Design, Setting, and Participants: This retrospective cohort study conducted in Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, Paris, France, enrolled 78 hospitalized adults who received a diagnosis of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-Cov2) and underwent EEG between March 30 and June 11, 2020. Exposures: Detection of SARS-CoV-2 from a nasopharyngeal specimen using a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction assay or, in the case of associated pneumonia, on a computed tomography scan of the chest. Main Outcomes and Measures: Data on the clinical and paraclinical features of the 78 patients with COVID-19 were retrieved from electronic patient records. Results: Of 644 patients who were hospitalized for COVID-19, 78 (57 men [73%]; mean [SD] age, 61 [12] years) underwent EEG. The main indications for EEG were delirium, seizure-like events, and delayed awakening in the intensive care unit after stopping treatment with sedatives. Sixty-nine patients showed pathologic EEG findings, including metabolic-toxic encephalopathy features, frontal abnormalities, periodic discharges, and epileptic activities. Of 57 patients who underwent brain MRI, 41 showed abnormalities, including perfusion abnormalities, acute ischemic lesions, multiple microhemorrhages, and white matter-enhancing lesions. Fifty-five patients showed biological abnormalities, including dysnatremia, kidney failure, and liver dysfunction, the same day as the EEG. The results of cerebrospinal fluid analysis were negative for SARS-Cov-2 for all tested patients. Nine patients who had no identifiable cause of brain injury outside COVID-19 were further isolated; their brain injury was defined as COVID-19-related encephalopathy. They represented 1% (9 of 644) of patients with COVID-19 requiring hospitalization. Six of these 9 patients had movement disorders, 7 had frontal syndrome, 4 had brainstem impairment, 4 had periodic EEG discharges, and 3 had MRI white matter-enhancing lesions. Conclusions and Relevance: The results from this cohort of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 suggest there are clinical, EEG, and MRI patterns that could delineate specific COVID-19-related encephalopathy and guide treatment strategy.

Brain Diseases/diagnostic imaging , COVID-19/diagnostic imaging , SARS-CoV-2 , Cohort Studies , Electroencephalography , Electronic Health Records , Female , Humans , Magnetic Resonance Imaging , Male , Middle Aged