Think Neuro

Get Vaccinated to Avoid Stroke, Abnormal MRIs | Dr. Garni Barkhoudarian

Episode Summary

The Covid-19 virus is a shape-shifter. Two years into the pandemic, we’re still learning about the damage it can cause. One thing for sure: It causes more strokes, says Dr. Garni Barkhoudarian, a neurosurgeon at PNI. The virus invades the blood vessels and pushes certain cells into a “hypercoagulable state,” meaning that they gum up our arteries. Patients that are already prone to strokes are at the greatest risk, Dr. Barkhoudarian says. They may recover from Covid but have a devastating stroke in the meantime, risking grave injury or death. Less clear about Covid is the damage it appears to do to the brain. Covid survivors have arrived at PNI with headaches and “brain fog,” and their MRI scans show strange abnormalities, Dr. Barkhoudarian says. It’s unclear if those changes are lasting. One easy step to take: Get a vaccine. They are very safe and more effective than seasonal flu shots. “It's amazing that we have these vaccines,” Dr. Barkhoudarian says. He compares their development to landing on the moon, developing the Internet, and mapping the human genome. Listen to this episode to find out more about Covid and the brain, and why Dr. Barkhoudarian has such confidence in vaccines.