“My worry is that we have millions of people with COVID-19 now. And if in a year's time we have 10 million recovered people, and those people have cognitive deficits … then that's going to affect their ability to work and their ability to go about activities of daily living.” Dr. Adrian Owen, Neuroscientist
Multiple news outlets are reporting on a new study published in the scientific journal Brain that COVID-19 impacts on the human brain include stroke and nerve damage, delirium, and brain inflammation. Researchers found a rare and sometimes lethal condition known as ADEM. The condition is sometimes mistaken for Multiple Sclerosis.
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society defines ADEM.
Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM) is a brief but intense attack of inflammation (swelling) in the brain and spinal cord and occasionally the optic nerves that damages the brain’s myelin (the white coating of nerve fibers). Other terms used to refer to ADEM include post-infectious encephalomyelitis and immune-mediated encephalomyelitis.
ADEM is sometimes difficult to distinguish from multiple sclerosis (MS) because the symptoms common to both “demyelinating” disorders include loss of vision, weakness, numbness and loss of balance. Both ADEM and MS involve immune-mediated responses to myelin in the brain and spinal cord.