Parkinson’s-like signs have been reported in a few COVID-19 patients, but they are incredibly rare. Researchers are looking at whether there is a correlation between SARS-CoV-2 and Parkinson’s disease as a result of this occurrence.
Could There Be A Connection Between COVID-19 And Parkinson’s?
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers have been trying to figure out how SARS-CoV-2 impacts the human body.
Scientists and healthcare practitioners realize that the symptoms go beyond the respiratory system at this stage. Other organs, such as the heart, brain, kidneys, as well as skin, can be affected by SARS-CoV-2.
Up to 65 percent of individuals with COVID-19 have developed hyposmia, a lack or change in their sense of smell, which is also a sign of Parkinson’s disease, according to a paper released in The Lancet Neurology in November 2020.
The same paper identified three cases of people who developed Parkinson’s-like symptoms after contracting SARS-CoV-2, despite having no known risk factors for the disease.
Scientists are wondering whether there is a correlation between SARS-CoV-2 and Parkinson’s disease or Parkinson’s-like symptoms as a result of these events.
Parkinson’s disease is a form of neurological disorder. Its manifestations emerge gradually and worsen over time. Shaking or tremors, stiffness, and problems with balance, sitting, communicating, and coordination are some of the symptoms.
Parkinson’s disease causes personality changes, memory loss, sleep problems, and exhaustion since it affects the brain.
Three patients with COVID-19 have developed Parkinson’s-like symptoms, based on the most recent recent results, which was released in The Lancet Neurology on November 27, 2020.
Slowness of movement was reported by two men, ages 45 and 58, and one woman, age 35, along with muscle tension, muscle spasms, erratic eye movement, and tremor.
On imaging scans, all three demonstrated decreased activity of the brain’s dopamine pathway system. Two of the three responded favorably to treatment, while the third stabilized on its own.
Before their diagnosis, none of them had a family history of Parkinson’s disease or other clinical symptoms of the disease.
Scientists have established three hypotheses regarding factors that could be implicated in the onset of parkinsonism, after a SARS-CoV-2 infection. Their theories are published in the journal Trends in Neurosciences.
For starters, SARS-CoV-2 has been linked to vascular problems in the brain and other organs, and scientists believe that this mechanism could damage brain pathways. This harm is close to what happens as vascular parkinsonism progresses.
Second, since inflammation is linked to an elevated risk of Parkinson’s disease, inflammation triggered by the immune response to a SARS-CoV-2 infection could possibly cause parkinsonism.
Some individuals with COVID-19 have high levels of interleukin-6, an immune system protein, as well as defects in the kynurenine pathway, according to some studies. All of these mechanisms have been linked to Parkinson’s disease.
Furthermore, the neuroinvasive nature of SARS-CoV-2 could play a role in the potential connection between COVID-19 and parkinsonism. Scientists found viral RNA in the brain tissue of COVID-19 victims, suggesting that the virus could infect brain cells and pathways.
Meanwhile, some evidence indicates that Parkinson’s disease can start with the olfactory system, which is responsible for the sense of smell. Since COVID-19 can induce a lack of smell and taste, researchers are wondering whether SARS-CoV-2 can enter the same brain receptors that cause Parkinson’s disease.
Although parkinsonism after a SARS-CoV-2 infection is uncommon, scientists suggest the occurrence of these symptoms in association with COVID-19 requires further investigation. Scientists prescribe careful screening for Parkinson’s-like symptoms in a large group of people with COVID-19.
Determining if there is a correlation between parkinsonism and COVID-19 could aid scientists in better understanding the disease.
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