Brain Damage Detected in Many COVID-19 Patients

Sat 17th Feb, 2024

Image by Micha from PixabayThe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic persists beyond the declared health emergency, with new research indicating potential long-term effects on patients, including brain damage. A preprint study sheds light on the aftermath of the coronavirus, suggesting that COVID-19 may lead to silent organ damage, particularly in the brain.

Ongoing studies have focused on the neurological effects of COVID-19, prompted by reports from individuals experiencing prolonged symptoms, known as Long Covid, including memory and concentration issues. The colloquially termed "brain fog" has raised concerns about potential long-term brain damage and its correlation with the early development of dementia, as revealed in a preprint study.

Recent research conducted in the United Kingdom has delved into the connection between COVID-19 and brain damage. Led by neuroscientist Benedict Michael, a research team examined the cognitive performance of 351 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in a national longitudinal study. Utilizing cognitive tests, blood samples to identify biomarkers indicative of brain damage, and brain scans, the researchers identified notable damage to the patients' brains.

This preprint study, currently undergoing peer review, suggests that the observed brain damage corresponds to an accelerated aging of the brain by approximately 20 years. The preliminary version of the study notes, "Compared to normative age-matched data, these deficits corresponded in magnitude to aging between the ages of 50 and 70."

While cognitive impairments were detected in all patients, the study does not conclusively determine whether the brain damage leads to permanent cognitive decline, leaving this aspect open to further investigation.

Neuropsychologist Karla L. Thompson underscores the significance of these findings for Long Covid patients, emphasizing the tangible indicators provided by biomarkers that confirm brain damage in some cases. Despite the ongoing nature of the pandemic, some doctors remain skeptical about persistent symptoms in patients.

The duration of brain damage caused by Long Covid remains uncertain, raising concerns about potential long-term effects even with treatment. The worst-case scenario suggests that ongoing damage in susceptible patients could contribute to the premature onset of dementia, according to medical experts cited by MedScape.

The exact causes of this brain damage are yet to be fully understood, with factors such as oxygen deprivation in intubated and ventilated patients being considered. However, the British research team posits that the brain damage is immune-mediated, resulting from inflammation triggered by an increased immune response rather than directly caused by the virus.

In addition to these findings, researchers have also identified a connection between surviving COVID-19 and an increased risk of developing diabetes. The implications of these discoveries further emphasize the need for ongoing research and comprehensive understanding of the long-term consequences of COVID-19 on patients' health.

Image by Micha from Pixabay


Write a comment ...
Post comment