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J Nucl Med ; 63(7): 1058-1063, 2022 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1923992


During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, Long COVID syndrome, which impairs patients through cognitive deficits, fatigue, and exhaustion, has become increasingly relevant. Its underlying pathophysiology, however, is unknown. In this study, we assessed cognitive profiles and regional cerebral glucose metabolism as a biomarker of neuronal function in outpatients with long-term neurocognitive symptoms after COVID-19. Methods: Outpatients seeking neurologic counseling with neurocognitive symptoms persisting for more than 3 mo after polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-confirmed COVID-19 were included prospectively between June 16, 2020, and January 29, 2021. Patients (n = 31; age, 53.6 ± 2.0 y) in the long-term phase after COVID-19 (202 ± 58 d after positive PCR) were assessed with a neuropsychologic test battery. Cerebral 18F-FDG PET imaging was performed in 14 of 31 patients. Results: Patients self-reported impaired attention, memory, and multitasking abilities (31/31), word-finding difficulties (27/31), and fatigue (24/31). Twelve of 31 patients could not return to the previous level of independence/employment. For all cognitive domains, average group results of the neuropsychologic test battery showed no impairment, but deficits (z score < -1.5) were present on a single-patient level mainly in the domain of visual memory (in 7/31; other domains ≤ 2/31). Mean Montreal Cognitive Assessment performance (27/30 points) was above the cutoff value for detection of cognitive impairment (<26 points), although 9 of 31 patients performed slightly below this level (23-25 points). In the subgroup of patients who underwent 18F-FDG PET, we found no significant changes of regional cerebral glucose metabolism. Conclusion: Long COVID patients self-report uniform symptoms hampering their ability to work in a relevant fraction. However, cognitive testing showed minor impairments only on a single-patient level approximately 6 mo after the infection, whereas functional imaging revealed no distinct pathologic changes. This clearly deviates from previous findings in subacute COVID-19 patients, suggesting that underlying neuronal causes are different and possibly related to the high prevalence of fatigue.

COVID-19 , Cerebrum , Glucose , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/psychology , Cerebrum/metabolism , Fatigue , Fluorodeoxyglucose F18/metabolism , Glucose/metabolism , Humans , Middle Aged , Neuropsychological Tests , Positron-Emission Tomography
Aging (Albany NY) ; 13(11): 14552-14556, 2021 Jun 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1267005


SARS-CoV-2 more readily affects the elderly, especially as they present co-morbidities. In the COVID-19 pathogeny, ACE2 appears to be the key cell receptor for SARS-CoV-2 to infect humans. The level of ACE2 gene expression influences the susceptibility of contracting SARS-CoV-2. In circumstances in which the ACE2 level is low, the incidence of Covid-19 seems to be fewer. Two clinical patterns illustrate this observation, i. e., in infants and in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Very young children and AD patients get little COVID-19, in part probably due to decreased expression of ACE2. The determination of the nasal level of ACE2 gene expression could provide a useful scale to predict the susceptibility to contract the SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/etiology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Alzheimer Disease/complications , Alzheimer Disease/metabolism , COVID-19/metabolism , Cerebrum/metabolism , Disease Susceptibility , Gene Expression , Humans , Infant , Nasal Mucosa/metabolism
BMC Infect Dis ; 21(1): 298, 2021 Mar 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1150393


BACKGROUND: Severe acute respiratory syndrome virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is spreading globally and causes most frequently fever and respiratory symptoms, i.e. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), however, distinct neurological syndromes associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection have been described. Among SARS-CoV-2-infections-associated neurological symptoms fatigue, headache, dizziness, impaired consciousness and anosmia/ageusia are most frequent, but less frequent neurological deficits such as seizures, Guillain-Barré syndrome or ataxia may also occur. CASE PRESENTATION: Herein we present a case of a 62-year-old man who developed a subacute cerebellar syndrome with limb-, truncal- and gait ataxia and scanning speech 1 day after clinical resolution of symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection of the upper airways. Apart from ataxia, there were no signs indicative of opsoclonus myoclonus ataxia syndrome or Miller Fisher syndrome. Cerebral magnetic resonance imaging showed mild cerebellar atrophy. SARS-CoV-2 infection of the cerebellum was excluded by normal cerebrospinal fluid cell counts and, most importantly, absence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA or intrathecal SARS-CoV-2-specific antibody production. Other causes of ataxia such as other viral infections, other autoimmune and/or paraneoplastic diseases or intoxication were ruled out. The neurological deficits improved rapidly after high-dose methylprednisolone therapy. CONCLUSIONS: The laboratory and clinical findings as well as the marked improvement after high-dose methylprednisolone therapy suggest a post-infectious, immune-mediated cause of ataxia. This report should make clinicians aware to consider SARS-CoV-2 infection as a potential cause of post-infectious neurological deficits with an atypical clinical presentation and to consider high-dose corticosteroid treatment in case that a post-infectious immune-mediated mechanism is assumed.

COVID-19/complications , Cerebellar Ataxia/complications , Cerebrum/diagnostic imaging , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , RNA, Viral