For December 2020, we have selected the following two papers:
-Zhang Q et al. COVID-19 case fatality and Parkinson’s disease. Mov Disord. 2020 Sep 21:10.1002/mds.28325. doi: 10.1002/mds.28325.
– Bsteh G, et al. Multiple sclerosis and COVID-19: how many are at risk? Eur J Neurol. 2020 Sep 25;10.1111/ene.14555. doi: 10.1111/ene.14555.
The spread of the COVID-19 infection in the world has highlighted new risks and fatalities for many neurological diseases. Indeed, governments and national health institutions of different countries are giving priority to COVID-19 patients to try to control the pandemic. Consequently, patients with diseases unrelated to COVID-19, for example, neurological disorders, are struggling to have appropriate investigations and treatments.
In this regard, we have selected two papers for December focused on two common neurological diseases: Parkinson’s disease (PD) and multiple sclerosis (MS), respectively.
Zhang et al. investigated whether patients with PD had a higher COVID-19 case fatality rate (CFR) or if PD is an independent risk factor for death. The authors used the TriNetX COVID-19 research network (a health research database with deidentified medical records of >50 million patients mostly from the United States) to compare COVD-19 CFR in patients with PD with a demographically matched population. The study found the PD group was characterised by a higher COVID-19 CFR compared from the non-PD group, independent of age, sex, and ethicity (odds ratio, 1.27; 95% confidence interval, 1.04–1.53; P = 0.016). Although further studies are necessary to investigate regional differences in mortality, these data highlight that it is mandatory to develop safe strategies to provide care to PD patients in the right way to prevent COVID-19 transmission among these patients.
Our other paper of the month is focused on COVID-19 mortality in MS patients. Bsteh et al. analysed data of 1931 patients included in the Innsbruck MS database (IMSD) to investigate frequencies of currently estimated COVID-19 mortality risk factors in the population of people with MS. The study showed that 63.4% MS patients had low risk of COVID-19 mortality, 26% had mild risk, and 8.8% had a moderate risk. The combined high or very high risk of COVID-19 mortality was < 1% (0.9%). Importantly, only one patient received DMT and none had an immunosuppressive therapy in the group at high or very high risk. Although a larger multi-centre study is needed, our paper of the month may help guide clinicians making decisions in regard to disease modifying treatments in terms of risk of COVID-19 mortality.