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The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has launched a database to track COVID-19–related neurologic symptoms, complications, and outcomes as well as the effects of the virus on preexisting neurologic conditions.
“We know COVID-19 can disrupt multiple body systems, but the effects of the virus and the body’s response to COVID-19 infection on the brain, spinal cord, nerves, and muscle can be particularly devastating and contribute to persistence of disability even after the virus is cleared,” said Barbara Karp, MD, program director at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
“There is an urgent need to understand COVID-19–related neurological problems, which not uncommonly include headaches, fatigue, cognitive difficulties, stroke, pain, and sleep disorders as well as some very rare complications of serious infections,” said Karp.
The COVID-19 NeuroDatabank/BioBank (NeuroCOVID) is funded by the NINDS. It was created and will be maintained by researchers at NYU Langone Health in New York City.
The project is led by Andrea Troxel, ScD, professor of population health, and Eva Petkova, PhD, professor of population health and child and adolescent psychiatry, both at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine, New York City.
“We’ve built a pretty comprehensive database that will accept deidentified patient information about new neurological issues that coincide with their COVID disease or worsening of preexisting neurological problems,” Troxel told Medscape Medical News.
“In addition, we have a bio repository that will accept almost any kind of biological sample, such as blood, plasma, cerebrospinal fluid, and tissue,” she said.
“Neuroimages are very difficult to store because the files are so enormous, but we’ve had some questions about that, and we’re looking into whether we can accommodate neuroimages,” Troxel noted.
Troxel said a “blast of information and invitations” has gone out in an effort to acquire data and biospecimens. “We’ve been really pleased with the amount of interest already, interest not only from large academic medical centers, as you might expect, but also from some smaller stand-alone clinics and even some individuals who have either experienced some of these neurological problems of COVID or know those who have and are really eager to try to provide information,” she added.
Researchers interested in using data and biosamples from the database may submit requests to the NeuroCOVID Steering Committee. More information is available online on the NeuroCOVID website.