FPM Webinar. 24 May 2021. Neurological and neuropsychiatric complications of COVID-19

Our panel reviewed COVID-19 neurological and psychiatric sequelae, what is known about them, why they happen and how to treat them.

Watch a recording of the session

This webinar was organised by the Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine, for which the official journals are the Postgraduate Medical Journal and Health Policy and Technology.

FPM webinars provide updates for clinical trainees, senior clinicians, policy makers, academics and other health professionals on prevention, diagnosis and treatment of common and serious clinical disorders – both for communicable and non-communicable diseases.

Speaker panel

Neurological complications of COVID-19
Dr Ben Michael, Senior Clinician Scientist Fellow at The NIHR Health Protection Research Unit for Emerging and Zoonotic Infection, Institute of Infection, Veterinary and Ecological Sciences, University of Liverpool; Honorary Consultant Neurologist at The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool.

Psychiatric complications of COVID-19
Dr Tim Nicholson, Clinical Senior Lecturer in Neuropsychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London, UK

Moderator: Professor Donald Singer, President of Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine, London

Our panel reviewed the neurological and psychiatric sequelae of COVID-19, what is known about this emerging spectrum of disorders, It is timely to review what we know and don’t know about the neurological and neuropsychiatric sequelae of COVID-19, what is known about why they happen and what treatments to consider.

Read more in the BMJ Editorial by Dr Ben Michael, Dr Tim Nicholson and their colleagues

Viruses that affect the respiratory tract may have many effects on other parts of the body, including on the central nervous system (CNS). Patients with COVID-19 are at risk of developing CNS complications with potentially serious and long term consequences, including stroke, delirium and a range of neuropsychiatric syndromes. Neuropsychiatric symptoms (e.g. fatigue, cognitive difficulties, insomnia & dizziness) are common features of Long COVID and emerging and highly significant healthcare problems.

Dr Benedict D Michael is a Senior Clinician Scientist Fellow at The NIHR Health Protection Research Unit for Emerging and Zoonotic Infection and an Honorary Consultant Neurologist at The Walton Centre. He completed Post-Doctoral Training at the Center for Immunology and Inflammatory Disease, Massachusettes General Hospital and Harvard Medical School where he was developed an intravital microscopy model of viral encephalitis to image leucocyte migration into the brain in real-time.

Benedict Michael

He has received The Liversage Award for Neurology and The British Medical Association Vera Down Award for Neuroscience, and for his neurological education work in Africa, he is Honorary Faculty for the Royal College of Physicians and his team were the 2020 Finalists for the Royal College Awards for Excellence in Education. He has an h-index of 24, an i10-index of 35, with >100 publications, and >3500 citations, primarily on neurological infection and inflammation. He has grant income from the MRC, Wellcome, NIHR, and Academy of Medical Sciences, of approximately £4.3M as PI and £7M as Co-I.

He is Vice Chair of the Encephalitis Society’s Scientific Advisory Panel and a Scientific Advisor to the Meningitis Research Foundation. He has worked as a Royal College of Physicians Faculty Tutor in West Africa and with the NIHR to promote Patient and Public Engagement in research. 


Dr Michael is currently co-Chairing the World Health Organisation (WHO) – commissioned COVID-19 Neuro-Research Coalition Task Force on Acute Clinical Care for Neurological complications of COVID-19 and also sits on the WHO Global Forum on Neurology and COVID-19. He is currently leading the National Surveillance Programme for Neurological Complications of COVID-19, CoroNerve, for the University as part of the Study Management Group (with the universities of Newcastle, Southampton, and UCL), in collaboration with the Association of British Neurologists, British Paediatric Neurology Association, British Association of Stroke Physicians, Royal College of Psychiatry, The NeuroAnaesthesia and Critical Care Society, and other key stakeholders. He is also co-leading the COVID-Clinical Neuroscience Study COVID-CNS to elucidate disease mechanisms in neurological complications of SARS-CoV2.

Tim Nicholson

Dr Timothy RJ Nicholson is a Senior Clinical Lecturer in the Section of Cognitive Neuropsychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry in London. He is also an Honorary consultant Neuropsychiatrist at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. He runs a specialist multidisciplinary FND clinic in the Department of Psychological Medicine in King’s College Hospital. He is also involved in developing and standardising outcome measures for FND both for use in research & clinical practice and has set up an international collaboration of 40 researchers from 15 countries. He is author of the Pocket Prescriber, a concise paper and electronic guide to safe and effective prescribing for junior doctors, medical students and nurse and pharmacist prescribers. The Pocket Prescriber Psychiatry Edition was published in 2019.

Find out more about Dr Nicholson on the King’s College Website

Donald Singer

Professor Donald Singer is President of the FPM. He is a Clinical Pharmacologist interested in new approaches to personalising medicine and in public understanding of health and drugs. He is a member of the panel of experts of the European Medicines Agency. A member since 2013 of the Healthcare Professionals’ Working Party of the European Medicines Agency, he is involved in current EMA projects on minimizing risk from medicines. International consultancy includes advice on clinical pharmacology and safety systems for medicines as a Yale School of Medicine Faculty member within the 7 year Human Resources for Health US-AID and CDC supported programme in Rwanda. Singer is President of the UK Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine, which publishes the Postgraduate Medical Journal (founded 1925) and Health Policy and Technology (founded 2012). He is a former Secretary of the European Association of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics which supports scientific and educational exchange for over 4000 clinical pharmacologists from 34 countries. He was previously a member of the Council of the British Pharmacological Society and Panel Member of the NIHR Health Technology Assessment Programme.

Sanjeev Krishna, Donald Singer and Paul Nunn

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