Case Report: Long COVID Syndrome Presenting as Neuropsychiatric Exacerbations in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Insights for Treatment
“In patients with pre-existing behavioral symptoms, such as individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), the emergence of neuropsychiatric symptoms due to long COVID can be difficult to diagnose and manage,” the authors state.
This study examines three patients previously diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder who, following COVID-19 exposure, developed a worsening of neuropsychiatric symptoms that were challenging to manage. 1
“These cases illustrate the difficulty in treating long-term neuropsychiatric sequelae of COVID-19 infection and the need for treatment measures targeting COVID-19-induced immune activation.”
“In cases 1 and 3 for whom serial blood samples were obtained, notable changes in the production of inflammatory and counter-regulatory cytokines by peripheral blood monocytes were observed,” the authors state.
- “… the three cases presented indicate that profound, lasting effects of COVID-19 on immune activation can present as marked exacerbation of neuropsychiatric symptoms in ASD subjects, even if the acute symptoms of COVID-19 are mild or asymptomatic.”
- “Because of pre-existing difficult-to-treat ASD behaviors and limited expressive language, such late-onset, lasting effects of COVID-19 may be easily overlooked in the ASD population.”
- “Due to the well-known heterogeneity of ASD, it is difficult to establish generalized practice guidelines for long COVID in ASD patients based on these three case reports.”
- “The presented cases may indicate a need for individualized treatment measures in patients with ASD, especially if immune mediated inflammation has a role in their behavioral dysregulation such as appears to occur in long COVID-19 syndrome.”