October 4, 2022

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New Oxford study: Infection with COVID-19 can damage the brain and cause cognitive decline

New Oxford study: Infection with COVID-19 can damage the brain and cause cognitive decline



 

New Oxford study: Infection with COVID-19 can damage the brain and cause cognitive decline

A team from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom published research results saying that after comparing the results of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of COVID-19 patients before and after the illness, they found that there were significant changes in the patient’s brain. Even in mild cases, the patient’s overall brain size was slightly reduced, and a reduction in gray matter was found in areas related to smell and memory.

 

The research was published in the journal Nature on Monday (March 7). Scientists don’t know if the change is permanent, but stress that the brain can heal. Research has shown that these brain changes are associated with cognitive decline.

 

New Oxford study: Infection with COVID-19 can damage the brain and cause cognitive decline

 

The latest findings highlight the effects of the new coronavirus on the nervous system. Avindra Nath, clinical director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, said: “This is a very novel study and has important implications.”

 

In the more than two years since the COVID-19 epidemic, we have realized that “COVID-19 pneumonia” is not just a respiratory disease, but affects multiple tissues and organs of the human body. For example, it affects the central nervous system, resulting in loss of smell and taste, fatigue, cognitive decline, and in some patients, stroke and more severe impairment of consciousness. There are even some studies reporting that some young people have symptoms of Parkinson’s disease after contracting the COVID-19, which is part of what is known as the sequelae of the COVID-19.

 

In addition, some recent epidemiological investigations have also shown that the possible health effects of multisystem injury are long-term. Even patients with mild symptoms at first face a higher risk of multiple psychiatric disorders, such as depression and anxiety, within a year of infection.

 

To study the changes in the brain, neuroscientist Gwenaelle Douaud and his colleagues surveyed 785 participants (aged 51-81) using data from the UK Biobank. During the investigation period, 401 elderly people were infected with the COVID-19, and 15 of them were hospitalized. The researchers conducted two CT scans of the elderly’s brains, with an average interval of 38 months.

 

The main areas of observation are the orbitofrontal cortex, parahippocampal gyrus, piriform cortex, and olfactory tubercle, which are all areas of the brain associated with odor and event memory. The researchers found that the gray matter thickness of the left orbitofrontal cortex and parahippocampal gyrus decreased more significantly over time in the case group.

 

The researchers found that the damage to the above two areas in the brain of patients with COVID-19s was significantly higher than that of ordinary people of the same age. Moreover, the signal of tissue damage in brain regions directly connected to the primary olfactory cortex was more pronounced.

 

“We were very surprised to see some noticeable changes in the brains of participants who had been infected with Covid-19,” Douaud said in the interview. She said whether the effects persisted, or if the neuronal network repaired Partial reversal requires further research.

 

Leah Beauchamp, a neuropharmacologist at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health in Melbourne, said the loss of grey matter, which makes up the outermost layer of the brain, represented brain degeneration. “It’s really very concerning.”

 

 

 

New Oxford study: Infection with COVID-19 can damage the brain and cause cognitive decline

(source:internet, reference only)


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