Studies Show Covid Leads To Brain Damage, Impaired Cognitive Function

Studies at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have shown that a severe covid-19 infection could lead to brain damage and impaired cognitive function, even in patients who have recovered.

The study was carried out among six patients using a specialized magnetic resonance technique and found that covid-19 patients with neurological symptoms such as loss of taste, dizziness, confusion, seizures, and stroke, had the same metabolic disturbances in the brain as patients who have suffered oxygen deprivation (hypoxia) from other causes.

“We were interested in characterizing the biological underpinnings of some of these symptoms,” said Eva-Maria Ratai, an investigator in the department of radiology and senior author of the study, which was first published in the American Journal of Neuroradiology.

“Moving forward, we are also interested in understanding long-term lingering effects of covid-19, including headaches, fatigue, and cognitive impairment.”

A year ago, Italian researchers warned that the long term effects of even a mild case of covid-19 could be worse than originally anticipated and affect all organs of the body.

The research showed that the virus was coming for more than just the lungs, but could also cause psychosis, insomnia, kidney disease, spinal infections, strokes, chronic tiredness and mobility issues, according to a Sky News report.

Another study in the U.K. involving 81,337 participants in 2020 showed that people who had recovered from covid-19, including those no longer reporting symptoms, exhibited significant cognitive deficits.

“The deficits were of substantial effect size for people who had been hospitalised, but also for non-hospitalised cases who had biological confirmation of covid-19 infection,” the U.K. study said in its findings.

Growing evidence suggests that the coronavirus causes brain fog and other neurological symptoms through multiple mechanisms, according to a Yale University study.

It showed that the damage caused by covid-19 to the brain could be multipronged, attacking certain brain cells directly, reducing blood flow to brain tissue or triggering the production of immune molecules that can harm brain cells.

Image Credit: DonkeyWorx / istock 

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