Evidence Mounting That COVID is Bad for the Brain

Credits: Fusion Medical Animation/Unsplash

The possibility that a Covid infection could damage your brain is terrifying. Scientists have established that long Covid often manifests itself with neurological changes — brain fog, memory problems, fatigue. And some researchers have found changes in the brain after even mild cases of the virus, reports the Washington Post.

COVID-19 and brain damage

The scientific paper that’s most often cited in media scare stories on brain damage and Covid came from the Wellcome Center for Integrative Neuroimaging and Oxford University. Researchers there made clever use of brain scans taken from 785 people before the pandemic. By bringing them back some months into the pandemic, the scientists could compare those who’d had Covid with those who hadn’t. All the brains showed small fluctuations, but on average, the previously infected showed a small decrease in the amount of grey matter, concentrated in the region that governs smell and memory.

The researchers noticed a similarity to changes associated with aging — and that led to headlines saying that COVID ages your brain by up to a decade. But there were big unanswered questions raised by that study — ones I wrote about when it published last March.

The brain difference was an average — some people’s brains aged 10 years, while others only seemed a year older. And it’s possible that some people recovered from COVID with no changes in their brains. The researchers noted that the brain changes were more pronounced in older people and those with more severe infections — ones that required a trip to the hospital.

Read the full article here.

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Source: The Washington Post


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