The researchers examined 509 patients admitted to hospitals in the Northwestern Medicine Healthcare system between March 5 and April 6 and found that 82% of them suffered from headaches, dizziness, altered brain function, and other neurological issues.
"The most frequent neurologic manifestations were myalgias [muscle aches], headaches, encephalopathy, dizziness, dysgeusia [impaired sense of taste], and anosmia [loss of smell]," the authors wrote in the study.
Nearly 45% of the patients experienced muscle pains, while close to 38% suffered from headaches. While most of the symptoms were mild and found in younger patients, older patients developed issues, including short-term memory loss, constant confusion, and difficulty concentrating.
The researchers found that patients with neurological issues spent more time in the hospital than other patients, and 26% of those patients ended up on a ventilator. The presence of neurological symptoms did not increase the likelihood of death.
The study found that the patients continued to suffer from neurological symptoms even after they were released from the hospital.
"This confirms that neurological manifestations are common but often mild. That is important," Dr. Alejandro Rabinstein, a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic, told NBC News. "Many patients in the hospital with COVID will have muscle aches, will have a loss of smell and taste."
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