COVID-19 Damages Brain Without Infecting it: Study
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SARS-CoV-2 likely does not directly infect the brain but can still inflict significant neurological damage, according to a new study. The study suggests that the neurological changes often seen in these patients may result from inflammation triggered by the virus in other parts of the body or in the brain’s blood vessels.

The study examined the brains of 41 Covid-19 patients who died during hospitalisation. The researchers found no evidence of the virus in the patients’ brain cells. But in every patient they found significant brain pathology.

Of the 41 patients, 59% required intensive care, and about half required intubation. Hospital-related complications were common, including deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism (20%), acute kidney injury necessitating dialysis (17%), and bacteremia (24%). About 20% of patients died within 24 hours of hospitalization, while 27% died 4 or more weeks after admission.

All of the patients, who were 74 years on average, had signs of virus-related lung damage. Sixty-six percent of the patients were men, and 83% were Hispanic/Latino. "In light of the brainstem and hippocampal distribution of microglial activation, the latter of which has been linked to virus-induced cognitive deficits, it is notable that some COVID-19 survivors develop neuropsychiatric symptoms, including memory disturbances, somnolence, fatigue and insomnia, and that similar symptoms are reported in both the acute and recovery phases," they wrote.

This study included only patients who were severely ill and died. These changes may not be seen in patients with mild illness.

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