MONTREAL – A small number of patients hit by the coronavirus could then suffer from psychosis, warn researchers in australia.
The meta-analysis of 14 scientific studies has examined the impact of epidemics such as with SARS-CoV-2, the respiratory syndrome in the Middle East or the swine flu on people with psychoses.
Between 1 and 4 % of patients infected with a virus would then psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations or voices are imaginary.
“These results are really going in the direction of all the data that we had on the importance of the inflammatory component in psychosis, said a psychiatrist Marc-André Roy, who teaches at the Université Laval.
“It seems to me quite plausible and even likely that an increase in inflammatory processes may result in a relapse of psychosis. When we speak of the COVID-19, one speaks of a storm of inflammatory, so I think it is perfectly plausible biologically.”
Solid data on the link psychosis-inflammation and from longitudinal studies demonstrate that the level of inflammatory markers in adolescence, before the outbreak of the psychosis, influence the risk of later development of a psychotic disorder, he added.
In addition, people who present for the first incident of psychosis, and who have never been treated for a psychosis, also have inflammatory markers elevated, ” continues dr. Roy.
“It’s telling us that there is an inflammatory process important, which is not due to the treatment of psychosis, he said. And when dealing with the psychosis, we also see a decrease in the levels of inflammatory markers.”
Some genes that increase the risk of diseases with inflammatory component are also involved in psychosis, ” says dr. Roy.
“It suggests that psychotic disorders as well as diseases such as diabetes share a common inflammatory component”, he said.
Stress has also been implicated in psychotic relapse and even in the development of the first psychosis, probably through inflammatory mechanisms.
In a similar vein, the medicine knows for a long time that the fact that a mother has certain types of infections during pregnancy increases the risk for their children to develop psychosis later.
However, says dr. Roy, in some cases, we are dealing with a virus that does not infect necessarily the child, which have no effect on the central nervous system, “so it was suggested that the inflammatory response was involved”.
“We realize more and more that the implications go beyond the direct effect of the virus on a given tissue to reach several other organs, he concluded. This is not unique to the COVID-19, but with the COVID-19 we discovered that in a massive way because there are so many people infected at the same time that it shows well.”