Will COVID-19 infection result in increased diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis?
A plethora of news articles on brain damage in COVID-19 patients released yesterday reported the findings of Paterson et al. in a shocking study released on July 8. The study discussed the observations of high levels of acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) together with brain hemorrhage (bleeding) in COVID-19 patients. The authors also noted that the brain complications were not related to the respiratory severity in in COVID-19 disease .
A separate study from China published in June found 36% (78/214) COVID-19 patients displayed neurological disorders involving the central and peripheral nervous systems, with symptoms including dizziness, headache, impaired consciousness, seizures, taste and smell impairments, vision impairment and nerve pain . To date, even though there is an impressive reduction of deaths from COVID-19, the long-term implications of COVID-19 infection is anything but clear.
In my July 1 video, I talked about how COVID-19 is no longer a respiratory disease but a blood vessel disease, and that CD147 dysregulation as result of spike protein binding can cause CNS dysfunctions . So what is ADEM and how is it related to COVID-19?
ADEM is a condition where widespread inflammation in the brain and spinal cord damages the protective covering of nerve fibers called myelin. ADEM is sometimes difficult to distinguish from multiple sclerosis because of the damage to myelin . How does CD147 affect ADEM? SARS-CoV-2 spike protein binds to CD147 as receptor .
CD147 has been found to be upregulated in diseases of the CNS. CD147 induces the expression of MMPs, matrix metalloproteinases, which are tightly involved with CNS pathologies. CD147 deregulation is associated with CNS disorders including Alzheimer’s, MS, stroke/ischemia , MMPs can disrupt blood-brain barrier and damage myelinated fibers, contributing heavily to pathological process in the brain resulting in stroke, MS, and dementia .
Interestingly MMP-9 has also been shown to enhance myelination processes in astrocytes, regulating sensory-mediated circuit reorganization[13, 14]. MMPs like everything else in nature, are double-edged swords.