Summary: The effects of COVID-19 infection on neurological health are becoming more apparent. A new study reveals COVID-19 can predispose people to irreversible neurological conditions, accelerate brain aging, and increase the risk of stroke and brain bleeds.

Source: Houston Methodist

A new study by Houston Methodist researchers reviews the emerging insights and evidence that suggest COVID-19 infections may have both short- and long-term neurological effects.

Major findings include that COVID-19 infections may predispose individuals to developing irreversible neurological conditions, may increase the likelihood of strokes and may increase the chance of developing persistent brain lesions that can lead to brain bleeding.

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 the Houston Methodist Research Institute, 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 Ageing Research Reviews.

Still a major burden on our daily lives, a great deal of research has shown that the impacts of the disease go far beyond the actual time of infection. Since the onset 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 U.S. accounting for almost 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 major organs. While a lot of research has been done to help us understand the evolution, infection and pathology of the disease, there is still a great deal that remains unclear about the long-term effects, especially on the brain.

The coronavirus infection can cause long-term and irreversible neurodegenerative diseases, particularly in the elderly and other vulnerable populations. Several brain imaging studies on COVID-19 victims and survivors have confirmed the formation of microbleed lesions in deeper brain regions related to our cognitive and memory functions.

In this review study, researchers have critically evaluated the possible chronic neuropathological outcomes in aging and comorbid populations if timely therapeutic intervention is not implemented.

Microbleeds are emerging neuropathological signatures frequently identified in people suffering from chronic stress, depressive disorders, diabetes and age-associated comorbidities. Based on their earlier findings, the investigators 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 ultimately impact brain microstructure-vasculature.

These pathological phenomena resemble hallmarks of neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and are likely to aggravate advanced-stage dementia, as well as cognitive and motor deficits.

COVID-19 Infection in Crucial Brain Regions May Lead To Accelerated Brain Aging

Still a major burden on our daily lives, a great deal of research has shown that the impacts of the disease go far beyond the actual time of infection. Image is in the public domain

The effects of COVID-19 infection on various aspects of the central nervous system are currently being studied. For instance, 20-30% of COVID-19 patients report a lingering psychological condition known as “brain fog” where individuals suffer from symptoms such as memory loss, difficulty in concentrating, forgetting daily activities, difficulty in selecting the right words, taking longer than usual time to complete a regular task, disoriented thought processes and emotional numbness.

More severe long-term effects analyzed 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 lesions in the part of the brain that regulates our respiratory system, following the COVID-19 symptoms.

Additionally, cellular aging is thought to be accelerated in COVID-19 patients. A plethora of cellular stresses inhibit the virus-infected cells from undergoing their normal biological functions and let them enter into “hibernation mode” or even die completely.

The study also suggests various strategies to improve some of these long-term neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative outcomes, as well as outlines the importance of the therapeutic regimen of the “nanozyme” in combination with various FDA-approved drugs that may prove successful to fight against this catastrophic disease.

However, given the ever-evolving nature of this field, associations like the ones described in this review show the fight against COVID-19 is far from over, say the investigators, and reinforce the message that getting vaccinated and maintaining proper hygiene are key in trying to prevent such long-term and detrimental consequences.

About this COVID-19 and neurology research news

Author: Press OfficeSource: Houston MethodistContact: Press Office – Houston Methodist
Image: The image is in the public domain

Original Research: Open access.
“SARS-CoV-2 and the central nervous system: Emerging insights into hemorrhage-associated neurological consequences and therapeutic considerations” by Joy Mitra et al. Ageing Research Reviews


Abstract

SARS-CoV-2 and the central nervous system: Emerging insights into hemorrhage-associated neurological consequences and therapeutic considerations

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) continues to impact 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 of the body, including the brain. Studies have shown systemic inflammation, cellular senescence, and viral toxicity-mediated multi-organ failure occur during infectious periods.

However, prognostic investigations suggest that both acute and long-term neurological complications, including predisposition to irreversible neurodegenerative diseases, can 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, potential causes of chronic lesions including cerebral and deep-brain microbleeds and the likelihood of developing stroke-like pathologies increases, with critical long-term consequences, particularly for individuals with neuropathological and/or age-associated comorbid conditions.

Our recent studies linking the blood degradation products to genome instability, leading to cellular senescence and ferroptosis, raise the possibility of similar neurovascular events as a result of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

In this review, we discuss the neuropathological consequences of SARS-CoV-2 infection in COVID survivors, focusing on possible hemorrhagic damage in brain cells, its association to aging, and the future directions in developing mechanism-guided therapeutic strategies.

TECH NEWS RELATED

Curious Kids: what makes a shooting star fall?

Curious Kids is a series for children. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, send it to curiouskids@theconversation.edu.au You might also like the podcast Imagine This, a co-production between ABC KIDS listen and The Conversation, based on Curious Kids. What makes a shooting star fall? – ...

View more: Curious Kids: what makes a shooting star fall?

Curious Kids: Is there anything hotter than the Sun?

Curious Kids is a series for children, where we ask experts to answer questions from kids. All questions are welcome: find out how to enter at the bottom. You might also like the podcast Imagine This, a co-production between ABC KIDS listen and The Conversation, based on Curious Kids. I ...

View more: Curious Kids: Is there anything hotter than the Sun?

Curious Kids: can snails fart?

Curious Kids is a series for children. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, send it to curiouskids@theconversation.edu.au You might also like the podcast Imagine This, a co-production between ABC KIDS listen and The Conversation, based on Curious Kids. Can snails fart? Thank you. – Avalon, ...

View more: Curious Kids: can snails fart?

Curious Kids: how does electricity work?

Curious Kids is a series for children. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, send it to curiouskids@theconversation.edu.au You might also like the podcast Imagine This, a co-production between ABC KIDS listen and The Conversation, based on Curious Kids. How does electricity work? – Edie, age ...

View more: Curious Kids: how does electricity work?

CDC no longer gently recommends COVID precautions most weren’t following anyway

Unvaccinated people no longer need to quarantine and physical distancing is de-emphasized.

View more: CDC no longer gently recommends COVID precautions most weren’t following anyway

How Different Smells Can Influence the Visual Perception of Emotions

Summary: Researchers found a significant link between olfaction and visual sensory processing, reporting specific smells influence the identification of facial emotions, and facial expressions influence the emotional response to smell. Source: FAPESP Smells influence our ability to see and interpret the emotions of other people, even when we are unaware ...

View more: How Different Smells Can Influence the Visual Perception of Emotions

Researchers Explore the “Dark Side” of Alzheimer’s Disease Revealing New Biomarkers

Summary: A new collection of articles explores mapping brain overexcitability that underpins the dysregulation of vigilance, sleep-wake cycles, and validating effective biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease. Source: IOS Press Neurophysiological techniques (e.g., electroencephalography, EEG, transcranial magnetic stimulation, TMS) allow an informed investigation of the brain overexcitability underpinning the typical difficulty of ...

View more: Researchers Explore the “Dark Side” of Alzheimer’s Disease Revealing New Biomarkers

A New Theory in Physics Claims to Solve the Mystery of Consciousness

Summary: Consciousness can not simply be reduced to neural activity alone, researchers say. A novel study reports the dynamics of consciousness may be understood by a newly developed conceptual and mathematical framework. Source: Bar-Ilan University How do 1.4 kg of brain tissue create thoughts, feelings, mental images, and an inner ...

View more: A New Theory in Physics Claims to Solve the Mystery of Consciousness

These unusual moths migrate over thousands of kilometres. We tracked them to reveal their secret navigational skills

Best inexpensive microphone

Why a strict sense of justice hinders progress toward a fairer society

Research Shows Salt Substitutes Lower Risk of Heart Attack/Stroke and Death

Researchers find new ways to steer fusion with lasers and magnetic fields

iOS 16: Everything New With Notes and Reminders

Transportation recovery after disasters: A collaborative university/community model

Molecules that promote plant-to-plant communications below ground

In defense of pigeons

Local stakeholder involvement key to understanding protection level of marine protected areas

Rise of precision agriculture exposes food system to new threats

Analysis of global tree population explains baffling trends in species richness

OTHER TECH NEWS

Top Car News Car News