Milder COVID-19 infection could still leave brain with lasting impact: UK study

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Brain imaging reveals differences in gray matter thickness

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According to a recent study, even mild cases of COVID-19 can leave lasting effects on the human brain.

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In August, researchers from the University of Oxford in England and Imperial College in London wrote that brain imaging UK Biobank – including data from more than 40,000 people in the United Kingdom, dating back to 2014 – showed differences in gray matter thickness between those who were infected with COVID-19 and those who were not.

the team said Using both hypothesis-driven and exploratory approaches, with multiple comparison correction for the false discovery rate, they had identified 68 and 67 significant longitudinal effects, respectively, associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection in the brain.

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In the COVID-19 group, there was reduced gray matter tissue in the frontal and temporal lobes, and the change in gray matter volume in the general population was larger than normal in 401 who had been infected.

The outcomes for those who had severe enough to require hospitalization were similar for those who experienced minor infections with a significant reduction in gray matter thickness in both cases.

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Additionally, SARS-CoV-2-infected participants also showed a greater cognitive decline during the trial and were slower at processing information relative to those who had not contracted the virus — a control group of 384.

The researchers matched the groups based on age, gender, baseline trial date, and study location, among other common risk factors for the disease.

Notably, the study has yet to be reviewed and a caveat says it should not be used to guide clinical practice.

While it is too early to draw conclusions about the long-term effects of changes related to the coronavirus, these findings have raised concerns about its effects on biological changes, including aging.

in a recent study From the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the agency found that adults who had COVID-19 may experience other permanent health problems such as fatigue, loss of smell or taste, and shortness of breath.

Symptoms can last a month or longer, the CDC warns and include cognitive dysfunction in the form of forgetfulness, memory loss or “brain fog.”


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