New Research Shines Light On How Covid-19 Can Damage The Brain

A third study, conducted by George D. Vavougios, a neurology research associate at the Athens Naval Hospital in Greece, found that it’s not just elderly people who suffer cognitive issues after a Covid infection

It’s no secret that Covid-19 infections can have an effect on the neurological system. From the early days of the pandemic, reports of brain fog, memory issues and confusion showed that the virus impacts much more than the lungs. But what do we really know about how Covid-19 can damage the brain? Research presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on July 29 sheds some light on how Covid-19 impacts brain function.

Severe Covid-19 Damages The Brain—But Brain Cells Can Recover

Researchers have already shown that a Covid-19 infection can lead to brain cell damage during the acute phase of the illness, particularly in patients who are sick enough to end up in the ICU. But according to new research, these brain cells seem to recover after three to six months. Nelly Kanberg, a researcher at the Institute of Biomedicine at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, measured biomarkers in the brain that showed while brain cells in some patients became damaged during severe Covid-19, these biomarkers go back down to “normal” levels a few months after infection. This shows that the brain can recover and heal—though some patients will still suffer from long-term cognitive issues. One persistent mystery, Kanberg says, is that we don’t yet know exactly how Covid damages the brain. It “may be a result of a combination of factors,” she says, including an inflammatory response, injuries to blood vessels and issues with clotting.

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