A new study published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Neurology India has found a “likely” link between COVID-19 vaccinations and a rare neurological condition.
Researchers have reported three cases of immune-mediated demyelination of the brain and spinal cord in patients who had recently received a COVID-19 vaccine.
The study, conducted by a team of Indian doctors, describes the cases of three men aged 38 to 50 who experienced neurological symptoms after being vaccinated.
In all three cases, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed similar patterns of brain and spinal cord involvement, including signal changes in the corticospinal and trigeminal tracts.
The first patient, a 38-year-old man, reported weakness in his lower limbs and bladder disturbance one day after receiving the first dose of the Covishield vaccine.
The second patient, a 50-year-old man with autoimmune thyroiditis, experienced difficulty walking 11.5 weeks after being administered the Covaxin vaccine.
The third patient, also 38 years old, developed progressive quadriparesis two months after receiving a COVID vaccine.
The findings suggest that the patients may have experienced post-vaccination immune-mediated demyelination, a rare condition in which the body’s immune system attacks the protective coating around nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord.
The condition can lead to a range of neurological symptoms, including weakness, sensory loss, and bladder dysfunction.
“This pattern of brain and spine involvement on MRI is a novel finding and is likely a result of post-vaccination/post-COVID immune-mediated demyelination,” the researchers wrote.
While the study is small and further research is needed to confirm the findings, the authors note that the cases highlight the need for continued monitoring of vaccine safety.
“Adverse events following immunization (AEFIs) have been reported, which include neurological complications as well,” they wrote.