According to a medical doctor who spoke with the Washington Examiner, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) could suffer "long-term nerve damage and cognitive impairments" from her recent illness.
The 89-year-old Feinstein recently contracted the shingles virus, which resulted in her multi-month absence from the U.S. Senate.
During her absence, Feinstein faced significant pressure to resign from some of her fellow Democrats, despite the fact that she is set to retire at the end of her current term.
The resignation calls resulted from the fact that Feinstein's absence, among other things, slowed down the Senate Judiciary Committee's advancement of President Joe Biden's judicial nominees.
Despite the resignation calls - which continue to this day - Feinstein has insisted upon serving out the remainder of her term. And, she recently made her return to the Senate.
Feinstein and her people have claimed that the senator has, for the most part, overcome her illness. But, Feinstein, when she made her recent return to D.C., did not look as though she recovered, which led to more speculation about her health.
Not long thereafter, the New York Times published an article, titled, "Feinstein suffered more complications from illness than were publicly disclosed."
The article reads:
The shingles spread to her face and neck, causing vision and balance impairments and facial paralysis known as Ramsay Hunt syndrome. The virus also brought on a previously unreported case of encephalitis, a rare but potentially debilitating complication of shingles that a spokesman confirmed on Thursday after The New York Times first revealed it, saying that the condition had “resolved itself” in March.
On Friday, Adam Russell - Feinstein's spokesman - confirmed to the Washington Post that Feinstein did indeed experience encephalitis - that is, inflammation of the brain - as a result of the shingles outbreak.
The Examiner reports:
The Encephalitis Society, a support and advocacy group for those affected by the disease, notes that the disease can cause significant long-term behavioral and emotional changes in the patient even after the infection clears and the inflammation decreases, including mood swings, aggression, impulsiveness, and poor emotional regulation.
The Examiner also spoke with Dr. Avindra Nath - a specialist in disorders of the nervous system - about Feinstein's illness.
Nath told the outlet that "long-term consequences would really depend on how much brain destruction has taken place. If you lose a substantial amount of the brain, then recovery is harder."
Nath added, "The older you are, the recovery is less, but some recovery can occur. It just depends upon how much area of the brain it affected and how early they were actually able to treat it."
There are still a lot of unknowns about Feinstein's condition.