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Does COVID-19 Sequelae includ that brain permantly damaged?
Does COVID-19 Sequelae includ that brain permantly damaged? The latest research: The brain tissues of COVID-19 patients are permanently damaged, and the sequelae are terrible? It’s too early to conclude.
A recently written clarification article about brain damage in COVID-19 patients. The original study is still relatively preliminary, and it cannot be said that the survivors have suffered permanent brain damage. The sequelae of COVID-19 requires attention and research, but it should not be an excuse for creating panic and rumors.
- A British study showed that among survivors who had been infected with the COVID-19, the gray matter of the brain was lost compared to before the infection. There are rumors on the Internet that this means that the brain tissue of patients with COVID-19 will be damaged for a long time. In fact, researchers only noticed changes in brain imaging, and did not involve the impact of this change on human health. It is inaccurate to conclude that COVID-19 causes brain damage or even permanent brain damage.
- The “performance” on medical imaging does not necessarily correspond to the actual impact on the body. The study did not mention the current health information of the survivors, nor was it possible to compare whether there were physical differences between them and the uninfected, and it was not clear whether the abnormalities in these images were temporary or long-term.
A recent study from the United Kingdom showed that among survivors who have been infected with COVID-19, the gray matter of the brain has been lost compared to before the infection. Once the study was published, it also triggered a lot of discussions. There are rumors on the Internet that this means that the brain tissue of patients with nCOVID-19 will be damaged for a long time. Some people will inevitably panic when they see it.
So does this mean that having COVID-19 is equivalent to permanent brain damage? Even the slightest case of infection will be accompanied by lifelong harm?
1. How is the study of brain gray matter loss specifically done?
Internet rumors will inevitably become more and more mysterious. We might as well look for this research first to see what the scientists originally meant.
In the UK, there is a big research project called UK biobank. This research started in 2006. The research needs to recruit 500,000 40-69 year-old volunteers, collect their health information, and continue to follow them for 30 years. The main purpose of this research is to see the influence of various genetic factors and living environment factors on human health, especially on disease risk.
This is a long-term follow-up study, which is equivalent to the health information of many volunteers collected by scientists before the COVID-19 epidemic. Now, under the epidemic, the situation of the same volunteer in the epidemic has been collected. This study of brain gray matter loss is based on the data of the biobank research project: Scientists have found 394 volunteers who have been infected with COVID-19. They have done brain imaging through the biobank before the epidemic. Now scientists have invited these COVID-19 again. The survivors come back and do imaging again to obtain brain images after infection with COVID-19 and recovery. Correspondingly, the researchers also found 388 people who had never been infected with COVID-19, and also obtained two images with similar intervals. These people, from age to gender composition, are similar to those infected, and are equivalent to a control group.
By comparing the saved images with the current images, the scientists found that compared with people who have never been infected with COVID-19, the recovered people have reduced gray matter in some parts of the cerebral cortex. Especially in the positions related to smell and taste, this decrease is more obvious. The results of this study indicate that infection with COVID-19 may have a certain impact on the central nervous system.
2. The loss of gray matter is indeed seen in the image, but the conclusion of “permanent brain damage” cannot be drawn
Although this study does show that the gray matter of the brain has been lost after the COVID-19 infection, before we feel panic and worry about permanent brain damage, we might as well ask again, what are the consequences of the gray matter loss found in the study? Is it really permanent damage?
It should be noted that in this study, scientists did not discover what kind of functional damage the gray matter loss in brain images corresponds to. It can be said that the researchers only noticed the changes in brain imaging, and did not involve whether this change has an impact on the physical health of the survivors.
Therefore, it is inaccurate to say that COVID-19 has caused permanent brain damage based on this study alone, and it can even be said to be very extreme.
The “performance” in medical imaging does not necessarily correspond to the actual impact on the body. This is why we often need to pay attention to the abuse of medical imaging, because it is not difficult to find some “abnormalities” by simply relying on images to catch the blind, but if limited to some meaningless image abnormalities, it may cause great misleading.
The image abnormality found in the study is still worthy of follow-up. Unfortunately, the study did not mention their current health information, except for the known survivors who were previously severely or mildly ill with the COVID-19 disease. Naturally, we cannot compare them. Whether there is a difference in physical condition from the uninfected person. Therefore, it is biased to directly say that COVID-19 causes brain damage.
3. Regarding the phenomenon of gray matter loss, further research is needed to confirm its actual impact
In the online post at the beginning of the article, we can see that some people also call “long-term damage to brain tissue” as “COVID-19 sequelae.” It has been explained above that “long-term damage to brain tissue” is not accurate, let alone call it. For sequelae. Regarding the sequelae of COVID-19, although there are more and more reports about the sequelae of COVID-19, there is currently no unified definition.
At present, according to the definition of the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United Kingdom, sequelae of COVID-19 disease generally refers to symptoms that do not subside one month after diagnosis.
Many reports on the sequelae of COVID-19 involve the failure of smell and taste. This study in the United Kingdom shows that the loss of gray matter in relatively healthy people involves areas related to smell and taste. If there is more in-depth research, such as the recovery state of the relevant symptoms in the survivors, or whether there are sequelae and what sequelae there are, it may provide a lot of useful information for the rehabilitation of COVID-19.
In addition, this research only provides information at a time point. We do not know whether the abnormalities in these images are temporary or long-term. In general, this study in the UK is still very preliminary, and we need to do more in-depth research on this basis before we can confirm its actual impact. We can give researchers a little more time and look forward to more progress in the future. There is no need to jump to conclusions.
(source:internet, reference only)