New Study Reveals Profound Impact of COVID-19 on Brain Health

A recent study published in The New England Journal of Medicine sheds light on the significant effects of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, on brain health. Researchers found that even individuals with mild to moderate COVID-19 cases experienced prolonged inflammation of the brain, leading to changes equivalent to seven years of brain ageing.

The study highlights various findings indicating the lasting impact of COVID-19 on cognitive function. Epidemiological analyses demonstrate an increased risk of cognitive deficits, including memory problems, among those infected with the virus. Imaging studies reveal noticeable shrinkage of brain volume and altered brain structure post-infection.

Notably, individuals requiring hospitalization or intensive care may face cognitive deficits and brain damage equivalent to 20 years of ageing. Moreover, data from multiple studies suggest a heightened risk of new-onset dementia in individuals over 60 who have contracted COVID-19.

The study also delves into the phenomenon of “brain fog” experienced by some COVID-19 patients, attributing it to disruptions in the blood-brain barrier, which safeguards the nervous system. Another study assessing cognitive abilities in COVID-19 survivors found significant deficits in memory and executive function, with mild cases showing cognitive decline equivalent to a three-point loss of IQ.

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