Lima, November 22, 2021Updated on 11/22/2021 11:27 am
A study published today by doctors at the University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG) reveals that the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, can affect the nervous system in a way that would temporarily reduce pain in cancer patients.
“Some patients with pain related to their cancer have experienced a significant reduction or even disappearance of this pain during the acute phase of the infection”, indicates the study, published in the specialized scientific journal “Pain”.
The study specifically collects three cases of cancer patients investigated by a team led by the doctor Lisa Hentch, of the Palliative Medicine section of the HUG, and Matteo Coen, Internal Medicine, supported by specialists in neurology, radiology and pathology.
The patients, men between 67 and 84 years old, were admitted to HUG after becoming infected with COVID-19 and they experienced the disappearance of their pains derived from Cancer shortly after infection (in one of the patients the pain gradually returned after recovering from the viral illness).
Faced with this phenomenon, experts consider the hypothesis that the generalized inflammation that the coronavirus The cause in many organs affects the insula, one of the deepest parts of the brain, which has, among other functions, that of transmitting perceptions such as pain to the human being.
Previously, the same Swiss doctors had detected that some patients lost the sensation of suffocation due to lack of oxygen when they suffered COVID-19, something that they also associated with a possible influence of the coronavirus in the cerebral insula.
Doctors emphasize that this is a hypothesis and that another explanation could be the influence of SARS-CoV-2 in the peripheral nervous system, which also participates in the transmission of the sensations of pain and suffocation.
“More studies are needed to confirm these observations and validate these hypotheses, although they may shed light on the mechanisms responsible for pain perception, opening new avenues in research and therapies”, HUG pointed out in the statement in which they announced this finding.