June 25, 2024

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“Brain fog” of COVID-19 patients similar to cancer patients’ “chemo brain”?

“Brain fog” of COVID-19 patients similar to cancer patients’ “chemo brain”?


“Brain fog” of COVID-19 patients similar to cancer patients’ “chemo brain”?

New study: “Brain fog” of COVID-19 patients may have similarities to cancer patients’ “chemo brain”

Previous studies have shown that some COVID-19 patients may still experience a series of uncomfortable symptoms such as fatigue, “brain fog” and increased heart rate months after the initial infection of the COVID-19 virus.

The scientific community is exploring the pathogenesis of these long-term sequelae of COVID-19, as well as potential treatment options.


According to foreign media reports, a new study in the United States shows that COVID-19 patients with “brain fog” symptoms and cancer patients’ “chemo brain” show similar neuroinflammation. This study provides a new perspective for the field of brain cognition.


“Brain fog” is manifested as memory loss, unclear thinking, inattention, etc. It is one of the sequelae that many COVID-19 patients have to face.

Previous studies have preliminarily shown that the brain sequelae of the COVID-19 have similarities to the mechanisms of other brain diseases, including cognitive impairment and even chronic fatigue syndrome in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers speculate that treatments related to cancer “chemobrain” may be available for Covid-19 patients with similar cognitive problems.


Treatmetn related to “chem brain” may be used for COVID-19 patients with similar cognitive problems

According to reports, at first glance, “chemo brain” and COVID-19 brain fog patients seem to be completely different: “chemo brain” patients have life-threatening cancer, they need to take health-damaging drugs or receive radiation therapy, and they experience mental illness during treatment. “confusion”.

By contrast, many people with Covid-19 brain fog describe themselves as healthy people with relatively mild cognitive severity.


But U.S. scientists found that similar brain changes were found in the two groups of patients: In treated cancer patients, there were changes in microglia, the cells responsible for the immune defenses of the brain’s nervous system.

Similarly, in patients with long-term sequelae of the COVID-19, the researchers also found the same neuroinflammatory response.


The results of this study are Stanford University neuroscientist Michelle Monge and her team. According to reports, they have been trying to find a link between the long-term consequences of the COVID-19 and brain inflammation in cancer patients.

The research team used three sets of data: respiratory system information from laboratory mice infected with Covid-19, autopsy reports of 9 deceased Covid-19 patients, and 48 Covid-19 patients with long-term cognitive sequelae. In all three sets of data, the researchers found inflammatory signals in the brain.


 "Brain fog" of COVID-19 patients  similar to cancer patients' "chemo brain"?



Among them, the levels of immune markers in COVID-19 patients with long-term cognitive sequelae increased. In mice and deceased patients, the researchers found high levels of proteins that regulate immune responses, as well as changes in the brain’s main immune cells, microglia.

The changes “would severely dysregulate the interactions between multiple cell types, and it’s clear that similar neuroinflammation is seen in Covid-19 patients,” Monge said.


In a preprint still under review by the journal, Monge and his co-authors wrote, “Overall, the findings illustrate the relationship between the neuropathophysiology of post-cancer treatment and the (caused cognitive problems) of Covid-19 infection. Amazing resemblance.”


Understanding these similarities provides a “real foundation” for research into the long-term sequelae of Covid-19, Monge said. She is optimistic that some of the long-term symptoms that people develop after Covid-19 infection are reversible, and speculates that treatments related to cancer “chemobrain” may be available for Covid-19 patients with similar cognitive problems.

“We didn’t start from scratch,” Monge said. “I think it’s promising.”

Monge’s hope is not only based on his team’s research, but similar studies have also revealed links between Covid-19 and other brain diseases. Before Covid-19, much medical research on the brain (and other organs) was isolated by the origin of the disease. As research into COVID-19 brain inflammation unfolds, commonalities between these diseases are starting to emerge.



 "Brain fog" of COVID-19 patients  similar to cancer patients' "chemo brain"?


So far, multiple research teams have made preliminary judgments on the long-term and short-term effects of the COVID-19 on the brain, showing that there is “huge overlap” between the long-term sequelae of the brain after infection with the COVID-19 and other diseases, and these findings It will help the medical community to explore more treatment methods for the sequelae of the COVID-19.


As previously reported, in August 2021, researchers at Harvard University and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine pointed out that the long-term sequelae of the COVID-19, slowed cognitive response and brain fog, are very similar to “chronic fatigue syndrome”.

They point out that the brain may be experiencing an “imbalance of oxidative stress” that triggers an inflammatory response that can lead to cognitive problems.


In February of this year, Columbia University professor Andrew Marks performed brain autopsies on 10 deceased COVID-19 patients between the ages of 38 and 80 and found high levels of phosphorylated tau protein (usually seen in Alzheimer’s disease patients). ).

Marks said the substance may have disrupted the normal structure of the patient’s brain. But the difference is that the substance is mainly found in the cerebellum of COVID-19 patients.

And in Alzheimer’s patients, phosphorylated tau is more likely to appear early in areas involved in higher brain functions, such as sensory perception, spatial reasoning and language.


Similarly, on March 7 this year, scientists at Oxford University wrote in the top journal “Nature” that the research team compared the brain scan data of 400 COVID-19 patients before and after infection, and found that the COVID-19 virus may lead to overall brain shrinkage, including brain volume.

Smaller, less gray matter related to smell and memory, damaged brain tissue, etc. Significant changes in the brain can occur even in patients with mild symptoms.

The study heralds the possibility that the long-term cognitive consequences of contracting the new coronavirus could lead to Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.


In March 2020, it was also reported that a 67-year-old woman in Spain suffered from brain fog symptoms such as “memory loss, difficulty concentrating, especially when reading, and cognitive fatigue” after contracting the COVID-19. Seven months later, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The researchers noted at the time that “cognitive symptoms of Covid-19 exposure have begun to appear.”


The analysis pointed out that these studies on the long-term sequelae of the COVID-19 suggest that perhaps it is not a new phenomenon at all, and the same type of reaction occurs in the human body when infected with other diseases.

Researchers need to restructure their research thinking to identify possible links between diseases and potential treatment combinations.





“Brain fog” of COVID-19 patients similar to cancer patients’ “chemo brain”?

(source:internet, reference only)

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