Many stroke survivors are indeed worried about the effects of contracting COVID-19 and the neurological impact on a brain that has already been insulted from a prior stroke.

Is this concern warranted?

There is so much missing information of how exactly the COVID-19 virus harms the body, but we now know that the impact of COVID-19 on the nervous system can be more significant and lasting than the transient loss of taste and smell that many of the first infected patients described.  In fact, it is reported COVID can have devastating short- and long-term neurological complications — from delerium, depression and “temporary brain dysfunction”  or “COVID Brain” to headaches, brain inflammation, brain bleeds and clots, nerve damage and life-threatening meningitis in both the young and old. 

Let’s Ask an Expert for More Info on How the Virus Impacts the Brain

Neurosurgeon Sanjay Gupta is CNN’s chief medical correspondent. He recently weighed in on COVID-19 and the Brain in a December 8th article for  AARP Magazine.  His new book Keep Sharp: Build a Better Brain at Any Age, went on sale January 5.

Dr Gupta states that “how this virus attacks the brain and nerves still isn’t totally clear, but researchers are increasingly focused on two primary mechanisms: one direct and the other indirect. In the first, the virus cloaks itself and evades detection as it travels with precious nutrients across the blood-brain barrier and into the fluid that bathes the brain and spinal cord. Once inside, the virus can inflict all sorts of damage to different parts of the brain, and we’re still trying to understand this. Early reports reveal that the virus can exploit brain cells to make copies of itself and simultaneously suck up precious oxygen nearby, starving neighboring brain cells.

In the other pathway, the virus waves its arms wildly and provokes a counterattack from the body’s immune system, which leads to a complex array of immunological effects. Such effects can result in inflammatory-related damage to tissues and organs, including the brain. Some combination of these two interwoven paths is a possibility, too.”

Bottom Line

There’s much more to learn about COVID-19, the brain and the potential added risk for stroke. In the meantime, here’s a few tips on how to protect your body and keep your brain sharp from his book.

Body in Balance Book

Published by David Dansereau

Licensed Physical Therapist, Nutritionist and Author in private consulting practice at PTC Physical Therapy Consulting and SmartMovesPT. is my blog and members resource to raise stroke awareness and educate the public about reducing stroke risk as well as provide tips, tools and review new technologies for stroke recovery. Learn about my book, Body in Balance sold on Amazon at Liten to the Know Stroke Podcast here:

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