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1.
Muscle Nerve ; 2021 Nov 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1508813

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION/AIMS: The development and persistence of neurological symptoms following severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection is referred to as "long-haul" syndrome. We aimed to determine whether small fiber neuropathy (SFN) was associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection. METHODS: We retrospectively studied the clinical features and outcomes of patients who were referred to us between May 2020 and May 2021 for painful paresthesia and numbness that developed during or after SARS-CoV-2 infection and who had nerve conduction studies showing no evidence of a large fiber polyneuropathy. RESULTS: We identified 13 patients, Eight women and five men with age ranging from 38-67 y. Follow-up duration ranged from 8 to 12 mo. All patients developed new-onset paresthesias within 2 mo following SARS-CoV-2 infection, with an acute onset in seven and co-existing autonomic symptoms in seven. Three patients had pre-existing but controlled neuropathy risk factors. Skin biopsy confirmed SFN in six, all of whom showed both neuropathy symptoms and signs, and two also showed autonomic dysfunction by autonomic function testing (AFT). Of the remaining seven patients who had normal skin biopsies, six showed no clinical neuropathy signs and one exhibited signs and had abnormal AFT. Two patients with markedly reduced intraepidermal nerve fiber densities and one with normal skin biopsy had severe and moderate coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19); the remainder experienced mild COVID-19 symptoms. Nine patients received symptomatic neuropathy treatment with paresthesias controlled in seven (77.8%). DISCUSSION: Our findings suggest that symptoms of SFN may develop during or shortly after COVID-19. SFN may underlie the paresthesias associated with long-haul post-COVID-19 symptoms.

2.
Epilepsia ; 62(10): 2322-2332, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1371818

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has affected the care of all patients around the world. The International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) COVID-19 and Telemedicine Task Forces examined, through surveys to people with epilepsy (PWE), caregivers, and health care professionals, how the pandemic has affected the well-being, care, and services for PWE. The ILAE included a link on their website whereby PWE and/or their caregivers could fill out a survey (in 11 languages) about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including access to health services and impact on mental health, including the 6-item Kessler Psychological Distress Scale. An anonymous link was also provided whereby health care providers could report cases of new-onset seizures or an exacerbation of seizures in the context of COVID-19. Finally, a separate questionnaire aimed at exploring the utilization of telehealth by health care professionals since the pandemic began was available on the ILAE website and also disseminated to its members. Seventeen case reports were received; data were limited and therefore no firm conclusions could be drawn. Of 590 respondents to the well-being survey (422 PWE, 166 caregivers), 22.8% PWE and 27.5% caregivers reported an increase in seizure frequency, with difficulty in accessing medication and health care professionals reported as barriers to care. Of all respondents, 57.1% PWE and 21.5% caregivers had severe psychological distress (k score >13), which was significantly higher among PWE than caregivers (p<0.01). An increase in telemedicine use during the COVID-19 pandemic was reported by health care professionals, with 40% of consultations conducted by this method. Although 74.9% of health care providers thought that this impacted positively, barriers to care were also identified. As we move forward, there is a need to ensure ongoing support and care for PWE to prevent a parallel pandemic of unmet health care needs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Epilepsy/therapy , Pandemics , Caregivers , Communication , Delivery of Health Care/statistics & numerical data , Epilepsy/psychology , Health Services Accessibility , Humans , Psychological Distress , Seizures/epidemiology , Stress, Psychological/etiology , Stress, Psychological/psychology , Surveys and Questionnaires , Telemedicine
3.
Epilepsy Behav ; 123: 108261, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1347861

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on people and healthcare services. The disruption to chronic illnesses, such as epilepsy, may relate to several factors ranging from direct infection to secondary effects from healthcare reorganization and social distancing measures. OBJECTIVES: As part of the COVID-19 and Epilepsy (COV-E) global study, we ascertained the effects of COVID-19 on people with epilepsy in Brazil, based on their perspectives and those of their caregivers. We also evaluated the impact of COVID-19 on the care delivered to people with epilepsy by healthcare workers. METHODS: We designed separate online surveys for people with epilepsy and their caregivers. A further survey for healthcare workers contained additional assessments of changes to working patterns, productivity, and concerns for those with epilepsy under their care. The Brazilian arm of COV-E initially collected data from May to November 2020 during the country's first wave. We also examined national data to identify the Brazilian states with the highest COVID-19 incidence and related mortality. Lastly, we applied this geographic grouping to our data to explore whether local disease burden played a direct role in difficulties faced by people with epilepsy. RESULTS: Two hundred and forty-one people returned the survey, 20% were individuals with epilepsy (n = 48); 22% were caregivers (n = 53), and 58% were healthcare workers (n = 140). Just under half (43%) of people with epilepsy reported health changes during the pandemic, including worsening seizure control, with specific issues related to stress and impaired mental health. Of respondents prescribed antiseizure medication, 11% reported difficulty taking medication on time due to problems acquiring prescriptions and delayed or canceled medical appointments. Only a small proportion of respondents reported discussing significant epilepsy-related risks in the previous 12 months. Analysis of national COVID-19 data showed a higher disease burden in the states of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro compared to Brazil as a whole. There were, however, no geographic differences observed in survey responses despite variability in the incidence of COVID-19. CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that Brazilians with epilepsy have been adversely affected by COVID-19 by factors beyond infection or mortality. Mental health issues and the importance of optimal communication are critical during these difficult times. Healthcare services need to find nuanced approaches and learn from shared international experiences to provide optimal care for people with epilepsy as the direct burden of COVID-19 improves in some countries. In contrast, others face resurgent waves of the pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Epilepsy , Brazil/epidemiology , Epilepsy/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
4.
Genome Med ; 13(1): 118, 2021 07 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1318291

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, has been associated with neurological and neuropsychiatric illness in many individuals. We sought to further our understanding of the relationship between brain tropism, neuro-inflammation, and host immune response in acute COVID-19 cases. METHODS: Three brain regions (dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, medulla oblongata, and choroid plexus) from 5 patients with severe COVID-19 and 4 controls were examined. The presence of the virus was assessed by western blot against viral spike protein, as well as viral transcriptome analysis covering > 99% of SARS-CoV-2 genome and all potential serotypes. Droplet-based single-nucleus RNA sequencing (snRNA-seq) was performed in the same samples to examine the impact of COVID-19 on transcription in individual cells of the brain. RESULTS: Quantification of viral spike S1 protein and viral transcripts did not detect SARS-CoV-2 in the postmortem brain tissue. However, analysis of 68,557 single-nucleus transcriptomes from three distinct regions of the brain identified an increased proportion of stromal cells, monocytes, and macrophages in the choroid plexus of COVID-19 patients. Furthermore, differential gene expression, pseudo-temporal trajectory, and gene regulatory network analyses revealed transcriptional changes in the cortical microglia associated with a range of biological processes, including cellular activation, mobility, and phagocytosis. CONCLUSIONS: Despite the absence of detectable SARS-CoV-2 in the brain at the time of death, the findings suggest significant and persistent neuroinflammation in patients with acute COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Brain/metabolism , COVID-19/immunology , Gene Expression Profiling/methods , Immunity/genetics , Immunity/immunology , Transcriptome , Choroid Plexus/metabolism , Gene Expression , Gene Regulatory Networks , Humans , Inflammation , Microglia , Prefrontal Cortex/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
5.
Epilepsia Open ; 6(2): 255-265, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1241502

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the face of many practices throughout the world. Through necessity to minimize spread and provide clinical care to those with severe disease, focus has been on limiting face-to-face contact. Research in many areas has been put on hold. We sought to determine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on epilepsy research from international basic science and clinical researchers. Responses to five questions were solicited through a convenience sample by direct email and through postings on the ILAE social media accounts and an ILAE online platform (utilizing Slack). Information was collected from 15 respondents in 11 countries by email or via Zoom interviews between May 19, 2020, and June 4, 2020. Several themes emerged including a move to virtual working, project delays with laboratory work halted and clinical work reduced, funding concerns, a worry about false data with regard to COVID research and concern about research time lost. However, a number of positive outcomes were highlighted, not least the efficiency of online working and other adaptations that could be sustained in the future.


Subject(s)
Biomedical Research , COVID-19 , Epilepsy/therapy , Telemedicine , Biomedical Research/methods , Biomedical Research/trends , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
6.
Neurol Clin Pract ; 11(2): e102-e111, 2021 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1177751

ABSTRACT

Objective: To assess the implementation of teleneurology (TN), including patient and clinician experiences, during the coronavirus respiratory disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Methods: We studied synchronous (video visit) and asynchronous (store-and-forward, patient-portal evaluation, remote monitoring) TN utilization in the Mount Sinai Health System Neurology Department in New York, 2 months before and after the start of our department's response to the pandemic in mid-March 2020. Weekly division meetings enabled ongoing assessments and analysis of barriers and facilitators according to the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research and the Expert Recommendations for Implementing Change models. We used postvisit surveys of clinicians (from April 13 to May 15, 2020) and patients (from May 11 to 15, 2020) to determine technology platforms used, and TN experience and acceptability, using Likert scales (1 = very poor/unlikely to 5 = very good/likely). Results: Over the 4-month period, 117 TN clinicians (n = 14 subspecialties) conducted 4,225 TN visits with 3,717 patients (52 pre- vs 4,173 post-COVID-19). No asynchronous TN services were delivered. Post-COVID-19, the number of TN clinicians, subspecialties performing TN, and visits increased by 963%, 133%, and 7,925%, respectively. Mean acceptability among patients and clinicians was 4.7 (SD 0.6) and 3.4 (SD 1.6), respectively. Most video visits were completed using Epic MyChart (78.5%) and Zoom (8.1%). TN implementation facilitators included Medicare geographic restriction waivers, development of clinician educational materials, and MyChart outreach programs for patients experiencing technical difficulties. Conclusions: A significant expansion of TN utilization accompanied the COVID-19 response. Patients found TN more acceptable than did clinicians. Proactive application of an implementation framework facilitated rapid and effective TN expansion.

8.
Stroke ; 52(1): 48-56, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-999359

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been associated with an increased incidence of thrombotic events, including stroke. However, characteristics and outcomes of COVID-19 patients with stroke are not well known. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective observational study of risk factors, stroke characteristics, and short-term outcomes in a large health system in New York City. We included consecutively admitted patients with acute cerebrovascular events from March 1, 2020 through April 30, 2020. Data were stratified by COVID-19 status, and demographic variables, medical comorbidities, stroke characteristics, imaging results, and in-hospital outcomes were examined. Among COVID-19-positive patients, we also summarized laboratory test results. RESULTS: Of 277 patients with stroke, 105 (38.0%) were COVID-19-positive. Compared with COVID-19-negative patients, COVID-19-positive patients were more likely to have a cryptogenic (51.8% versus 22.3%, P<0.0001) stroke cause and were more likely to suffer ischemic stroke in the temporal (P=0.02), parietal (P=0.002), occipital (P=0.002), and cerebellar (P=0.028) regions. In COVID-19-positive patients, mean coagulation markers were slightly elevated (prothrombin time 15.4±3.6 seconds, partial thromboplastin time 38.6±24.5 seconds, and international normalized ratio 1.4±1.3). Outcomes were worse among COVID-19-positive patients, including longer length of stay (P<0.0001), greater percentage requiring intensive care unit care (P=0.017), and greater rate of neurological worsening during admission (P<0.0001); additionally, more COVID-19-positive patients suffered in-hospital death (33% versus 12.9%, P<0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: Baseline characteristics in patients with stroke were similar comparing those with and without COVID-19. However, COVID-19-positive patients were more likely to experience stroke in a lobar location, more commonly had a cryptogenic cause, and had worse outcomes.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/complications , Stroke/epidemiology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Female , Humans , Incidence , Male , Middle Aged , New York City/epidemiology , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2 , Treatment Outcome
9.
Epilepsy Behav ; 115: 107658, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-947487

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused global anguish unparalleled in recent times. As cases rise, increased pressure on health services, combined with severe disruption to people's everyday lives, can adversely affect individuals living with chronic illnesses, including people with epilepsy. Stressors related to disruption to healthcare, finances, mental well-being, relationships, schooling, physical activity, and increased isolation could increase seizures and impair epilepsy self-management. We aim to understand the impact that COVID-19 has had on the health and well-being of people with epilepsy focusing on exposure to increased risk of seizures, associated comorbidity, and mortality. We designed two online surveys with one addressing people with epilepsy directly and the second for caregivers to report on behalf of a person with epilepsy. The survey is ongoing and has yielded 463 UK-based responses by the end of September 2020. Forty percent of respondents reported health changes during the pandemic (n = 185). Respondents cited a change in seizures (19%, n = 88), mental health difficulties (34%, n = 161), and sleep disruption (26%, n = 121) as the main reasons. Thirteen percent found it difficult to take medication on time. A third had difficulty accessing medical services (n = 154), with 8% having had an appointment canceled (n = 39). Only a small proportion reported having had discussions about epilepsy-related risks, such as safety precautions (16%, n = 74); mental health (29%, n = 134); sleep (30%, n = 140); and Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP; 15%, n = 69) in the previous 12 months. These findings suggest that people with epilepsy are currently experiencing health changes, coupled with inadequate access to services. Also, there seems to be a history of poor risk communication in the months preceding the pandemic. As the UK witnesses a second COVID-19 wave, those involved in healthcare delivery must ensure optimal care is provided for people with chronic conditions, such as epilepsy, to ensure that avoidable morbidity and mortality is prevented during the pandemic, and beyond.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Delivery of Health Care/standards , Epilepsy/epidemiology , Pandemics , Surveys and Questionnaires , Adolescent , Adult , COVID-19/prevention & control , Caregivers/standards , Delivery of Health Care/methods , Epilepsy/therapy , Female , Humans , Longitudinal Studies , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pilot Projects , Risk Factors , Self-Management/methods , Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy/epidemiology , Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy/prevention & control , United Kingdom/epidemiology , Young Adult
10.
Stroke ; 51(10): 3112-3114, 2020 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-705921

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: In December 2019, an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) occurred in China, and evolved into a worldwide pandemic. It remains unclear whether the history of cerebrovascular disease is associated with in-hospital death in patients with COVID-19. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective, multicenter cohort study at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City. Using our institutional data warehouse, we identified all adult patients who were admitted to the hospital between March 1, 2020 and May 1, 2020 and had a positive nasopharyngeal swab polymerase chain reaction test for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus in the emergency department. Using our institutional electronic health record, we extracted clinical characteristics of the cohort, including age, sex, and comorbidities. Using multivariable logistic regression to control for medical comorbidities, we modeled the relationship between history of stroke and all-cause, in-hospital death. RESULTS: We identified 3248 patients, of whom 387 (11.9%) had a history of stroke. Compared with patients without history of stroke, patients with a history of stroke were significantly older, and were significantly more likely to have a history of all medical comorbidities except for obesity, which was more prevalent in patients without a history of stroke. Compared with patients without history of stroke, patients with a history of stroke had higher in-hospital death rates during the study period (48.6% versus 31.7%, P<0.001). In the multivariable analysis, history of stroke (adjusted odds ratio, 1.28 [95% CI, 1.01-1.63]) was significantly associated with in-hospital death. CONCLUSIONS: We found that history of stroke was associated with in-hospital death among hospitalized patients with COVID-19. Further studies should confirm these results.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/mortality , Hospital Mortality , Pneumonia, Viral/mortality , Stroke/epidemiology , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Cause of Death , Comorbidity , Female , Humans , Logistic Models , Male , Middle Aged , Multivariate Analysis , New York City/epidemiology , Pandemics , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
11.
Neurology ; 94(23): 1032-1037, 2020 06 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-116722

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To provide information on the effect of the coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on people with epilepsy and provide consensus recommendations on how to provide the best possible care for people with epilepsy while avoiding visits to urgent care facilities and hospitalizations during the novel coronavirus pandemic. METHODS: The authors developed consensus statements in 2 sections. The first was "How should we/clinicians modify our clinical care pathway for people with epilepsy during the COVID-19 pandemic?" The second was "What general advice should we give to people with epilepsy during this crisis? The authors individually scored statements on a scale of -10 (strongly disagree) to +10 (strongly agree). Five of 11 recommendations for physicians and 3/5 recommendations for individuals/families were rated by all the authors as 7 or above (strongly agree) on the first round of rating. Subsequently, a teleconference was held where statements for which there was a lack of strong consensus were revised. RESULTS: After revision, all consensus recommendations received a score of 7 or above. The recommendations focus on administration of as much care as possible at home to keep people with epilepsy out of health care facilities, where they are likely to encounter COVID-19 (including strategies for rescue therapy), as well as minimization of risk of seizure exacerbation through adherence, and through ensuring a regular supply of medication. We also provide helpful links to additional helpful information for people with epilepsy and health providers. CONCLUSION: These recommendations may help health care professionals provide optimal care to people with epilepsy during the coronavirus pandemic.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/complications , Epilepsy/complications , Epilepsy/virology , Pneumonia, Viral/complications , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
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