A new study on brain activity after a patient has conceived COVID-19 reveals some disturbing new information that might change how we look at the way the virus affects us.
According to experts, an investigation of brain activity from persons who has been affected with COVID-19 revealed a regular trend of grey matter loss over time.
The Loss of Grey Matter
Researchers from the University of Oxford published their findings on medRxiv this week, ahead of peer review, using data from the UK Biobank.
They compared brain scans from 394 coronavirus patients and 388 matched controls taken before the pandemic to scans conducted three years later. A second study compared 15 hospitalized patients to 379 participants who had not been hospitalized.
Important study out of UK
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Researchers examined brain MRIs of people before and after they got COVID, matched with controls
What did they find?
Substantial loss of grey matter in those who had gotten but recovered from COVID
— Ashish K. Jha, MD, MPH (@ashishkjha) June 18, 2021
The findings are strengthened by the original set of scans conducted before the pandemic, according to the study authors; this is because they assist and distinguish the impacts of COVID-19 disease from patients’ prior health issues.
The parahippocampal gyrus, the lateral orbitofrontal cortex, and the superior insula were found to have a significant loss in thickness and volume of grey matter among COVID-19 patients, according to scientists; scientists later went on to say that the greatest negative consequences of COVID-19 were seen primarily in the left side of the brain.
The results of the hospitalized patients’ comparison were not significant; however, the authors noted that the findings were similar to those of the larger group of coronavirus patients. This entailed a greater loss of grey matter in the cingulate cortex, central nucleus of the amygdala, and hippocampal cornu ammonia.
Post-COVID-19 “loss of grey matter in limbic cortical areas directly linked to the primary olfactory and gustatory system”. There is no one I’d trust more to perform this analysis than Gwenaëlle Douaud et al. @OxfordWIN. The @uk_biobank keeps on giving. https://t.co/xCBAWvfAt2
— Jennifer McNab (@jennifer_mcnab) June 16, 2021
Furthermore, the researchers noticed that there were many mild cases; there is also a basic need for greater information on the brain repercussions of the illness and in its least severe form.
Due to the study methodology, the team was unable to establish a causal association, although they expressed the validity of the findings. The study has some limitations.
These limitations include the complete absence of disintegration by patients by factors such as blood oxygen due to unavailable data; also involved were a small number of people involved from Asian, black, or other ethnic backgrounds other than white. Finally, issues with COVID-19 status among all controls derived from test kits with varying accuracy were also a factor.
— Meghna D (@meghn888888) June 18, 2021
Change of Mood
The researchers discovered that losses in brain tissue in the frontal regions of the brain were linked to agitation; this implies that they may be to blame for the mood swings that cured patients frequently suffer.
According to principal investigator Vince Calhoun, neurological problems in COVID-19 victims are becoming more common.
Brain tissue loss has also been linked to other mental illnesses (including schizophrenia) and is thought to be connected to the way gray matter regulates neuron activity.