Some children have developed rare brain damage from the coronavirus, according to a small study

  • A study of children with severe cases of COVID-19 found that some developed new neurological symptoms like muscle weakness, slowed reflexes and evidence of brain damage after infection.
  • Two of the patients made a full recovery, but two remained in wheelchairs due to muscle weakness.
  • Previous research has suggested coronavirus may cause brain damage in adults, even those with mild cases. More research is needed to understand how virus might affect a child's developing brain.

Neurological issues and brain damage may be among the symptoms of children with severe cases of the novel coronavirus, according to a case study published July 1 in JAMA Neurology.

Researchers from Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London looked at 27 children with multisystem inflammatory syndrome, a severe and potentially fatal condition that appears to be linked to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

They found that 4 of the children also showed neurological symptoms. The patients, aged between 8 and 15 years old, experienced headaches, confusion and disorientation, and muscle weakness, according to the report, none of which were present before the coronavirus infection. Testing showed the patients had slowed activity in nerves and muscle fibers.
After receiving medications to treat inflammation, two of the patients made a full recovery and were discharged from the hospital. The other two patients improved somewhat, but continued to show symptoms, including muscle weakness severe enough that they needed a wheelchair.

Previous evidence has found that adults can also experience brain damage and neurological symptoms from COVID-19, including delirium and hallucinations, Business Insider previously reported.

These symptoms can affect patients after they've left the hospital for respiratory symptoms, and may even occur in patients with otherwise mild cases of the virus. Studies suggest patients can also have neurological symptoms from blot clotting related to COVID-19, including strokes.

It's not clear exactly how COVID-19 may affect the brain, particularly in children, so more research is needed. Previous research on viruses suggests that the immune system may play a role as coronavirus may damage the blood-brain barrier and the body's immune response could damage the nervous system.

Read more: Photos of mask-less students crammed into a Georgia school hallway show how difficult reopenings could be

The coronavirus may cause brain damage, even in patients with mild cases, a new study found

The coronavirus' effect on kids remains an unsolved mystery. Here are the clues so far.