Summary: The effects of COVID-19 infection on neurological health are becoming more apparent. A new study reveals that COVID-19 may predispose people to irreversible neurological conditions, accelerate brain aging, and increase the risk of stroke and brain hemorrhage.
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A new study by Houston Methodist researchers reviews emerging knowledge and evidence suggesting that COVID-19 infections can have both short-term and long-term neurological effects.
Major findings include that COVID-19 infections may predispose people to developing irreversible neurological conditions, may increase the likelihood of stroke, and may increase the chance of developing persistent brain injuries that can lead to brain hemorrhage.
Led by corresponding authors Joy Mitra, Ph.D., Instructor, and Muralidhar L. Hegde, Ph.D., Professor of Neurosurgery, with the Division of DNA Repair within the Center for Neuroregeneration at Houston Methodist Research Institute, the team The research team described their findings in an article titled “SARS-CoV-2 and the central nervous system: emerging insights into hemorrhage-associated neurological consequences and therapeutic considerations” in the journal Aging Research Reviews.
Although it is a major burden in our daily lives, a great deal of research has shown that the impacts of the disease go far beyond the actual moment of infection. Since the start of the pandemic, COVID-19 has surpassed a death toll of more than 5.49 million worldwide and more than 307 million confirmed positive cases, with the US accounting for nearly 90 million of those cases. , according to the Our World in Data website. .
COVID-19 is known to invade and infect the brain, among other important organs. While much research has been done to help us understand the course, infection, and pathology of the disease, much remains to be clarified about the long-term effects, especially on the brain.
Coronavirus infection can cause long-term and irreversible neurodegenerative diseases, particularly in the elderly and other vulnerable populations. Several brain imaging studies in victims and survivors of COVID-19 have confirmed the formation of microhemorrhage lesions in deeper brain regions related to our memory and cognitive functions.
In this review study, investigators critically appraised the potential chronic neuropathologic outcomes in elderly and comorbid populations if timely therapeutic intervention is not implemented.
Microbleeds are emerging neuropathological signatures that are frequently identified in people suffering from chronic stress, depressive disorders, diabetes, and age-related comorbidities. Building on their previous findings, the researchers discuss how COVID-19-induced microhemorrhagic lesions may exacerbate DNA damage in affected brain cells, resulting in neuronal senescence and activation of cell death mechanisms, which in ultimately affect the vasculature of the brain microstructure.
These pathological phenomena resemble features of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and are likely to aggravate late-stage dementia as well as cognitive and motor deficits.
The effects of COVID-19 infection on various aspects of the central nervous system are currently being studied. For example, between 20 and 30% of COVID-19 patients report a persistent psychological condition known as “brain fog” in which people experience symptoms such as memory loss, difficulty concentrating, forgetting daily activities, difficulty to select the correct words, taking more time than usual to complete a regular task, disoriented thought processes, and emotional numbness.
The more serious long-term effects discussed in the Houston Methodist review article include predispositions for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and related neurodegenerative diseases, as well as cardiovascular disorders due to internal bleeding and blood-clotting-induced injury to part of the brain that regulates our respiratory system. , after the symptoms of COVID-19.
Furthermore, cellular aging is thought to be accelerated in COVID-19 patients. A plethora of cellular stresses prevent virus-infected cells from performing their normal biological functions and allow them to enter “hibernation mode” or even die completely.
The study also suggests several strategies to improve some of these long-term neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative outcomes, and highlights the importance of the “nanozime” therapeutic regimen in combination with several FDA-approved drugs that may be successful in combating this problem. catastrophic illness.
However, given the ever-evolving nature of the field, associations such as those described in this review show that the fight against COVID-19 is far from over, the researchers say, and reinforce the message that getting vaccinated and maintaining proper hygiene they are key in trying to prevent such detrimental long-term consequences.
About this research news about COVID-19 and neurology
Author: press office
Font: houston methodist
Contact: Press Office – Houston Methodist
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original research: Open access.
“SARS-CoV-2 and the central nervous system: new insights into the neurological consequences associated with hemorrhage and therapeutic considerations” by Joy Mitra et al. Aging Research Reviews
SARS-CoV-2 and the central nervous system: new insights into the neurological consequences associated with hemorrhage and therapeutic considerations
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), continues to affect our lives by causing widespread illness and death and poses a threat due to the possibility of emerging strains. SARS-CoV-2 targets angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) before entering vital organs in the body, including the brain. Studies have shown that systemic inflammation, cellular senescence, and viral toxicity-mediated multi-organ failure occur during infectious periods.
However, prognostic research suggests that both acute and long-term neurological complications, including predisposition to irreversible neurodegenerative diseases, may be a serious concern for COVID-19 survivors, especially the elderly population.
As emerging studies reveal sites of SARS-CoV-2 infection in different parts of the brain, the potential causes of chronic injury, including cerebral and deep cerebral microbleeds, and the likelihood of developing accident-like pathology are increasing. stroke, with critical long-term consequences, particularly for individuals with comorbid neuropathological and/or age-related conditions.
Our recent studies linking blood degradation products to genome instability, leading to cellular senescence and ferroptosis, raise the possibility of similar neurovascular events resulting from SARS-CoV-2 infection.
In this review, we discuss the neuropathological consequences of SARS-CoV-2 infection in COVID survivors, focusing on possible haemorrhagic damage to brain cells, its association with aging, and future directions in the development of therapeutic strategies guided by mechanisms.