The impacts of facing the neurological impacts after COVID-19

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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Isaac Lohan Matos Vieira and Ms. Lorena Sheila Alves de Oliveira, two medical students from Universidade Tiradentes, Aracaju – SE, Brazil. They are affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


Since 2020, the world had to deal with a new enemy: the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This pathogen is responsible for causing the disease COVID-19 in humans, a respiratory syndrome that primarily affects the lower respiratory tract. Thereby, for two years, humanity has been facing the disease and its consequences. However, due to its multisystemic character, there were impacts on several other body systems even after cure, such as the nervous system. In this regard, damage to patients’ quality of life and insufficient government action constitute difficulties in facing the post-COVID neurological impacts.

The post-COVID period is also called the Post-COVID Syndrome or Long-COVID, characterized by the National Institute of Health Care and Excellence (NICE), as the 12-weeks after the illness. Unfortunately, at this stage, the consequences that occurred  were still unknown, which scared both patients and doctors, since there was still no adequate conduct to face these problems. Consequently, thousands of people suffer from damages that affect daily in their lives, such as anxiety, sleep disorders, memory and attention deficits, sensory loss and depression. These people, even cured of the disease, have losses that interfere with their quality of life in different areas, such as personal and professional. According to the scientific journal “The Lancet Psychiatry”, one in three infected people were affected with neurological effects after the COVID-19 infection, therefore, it is visible how frequent the aftereffects are and how extensively they affect this group.

In this perspective, even though Long-COVID is not yet fully comprehended, it is understood that it can be quite worrying, with the need for a quick government response, in the sense of promoting health care that provides a multidisciplinary and multispecialized approach. In addition, a complete neuropsychological assessment is of great importance, so that the treatment takes place in the best possible way. However, such support has not been adequately offered by the countries, since, according to data from the World Health Organization, patients report that their complaints are not taken into account and when they are, the care network has difficult access, in a disconnected manner, which compromises the reversal of sequelae. Added to this, there is still a lack of national surveillance and monitoring systems that detail specific data for Long-COVID, an essential tool for a long-term follow-up of cases, as well as for the development of strategies that aim to prevent an epidemic of chronic diseases.

In conclusion, the need to combat these impacts is clear in order to improve the health of people who have been affected. Hence, research and investments must be stimulated by public policies, such as expanding vaccination coverage and creating clinics for post-COVID care. Given this fact, SARS-Cov-2 showed us how much humanity, even with several advances, was not prepared to deal with such a lethal virus. Therefore, science is increasingly necessary to allow health progress and ensure that safer steps are taken to face COVID.

REFERENCES:

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2. Walia N, Lat JO, Tariq R, Tyagi S, Qazi AM, Salari SW, et al. Post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 and the mental health implications. Discoveries [Internet]. 2021 Dec 31 [cited 2022 Jun 21];9(4):e140. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8959835/pdf/discoveries-09-140.pdf

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5. Davis HE, Assaf GS, McCorkell L, Wei H, Low RJ, Re’em Y, et al. Characterizing long COVID in an international cohort: 7 months of symptoms and their impact. EClinicalMedicine. 2021 Jul;38:101019. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8280690/ 

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About the authors

Isaac Lohan Matos Vieira is a  second year medical student from Universidade Tiradentes, Aracaju – SE, Brazil. Affiliate member to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA).

Lorena Sheila Alves de Oliveira is a third-year medical student from Universidade Tiradentes, Aracaju-SE, Brazil. Affiliated member to the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA).

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