NEW DELHI: Patients who had recovered from mild or moderate SARS-CoV-2 infection were seen to have suffered some loss of grey matter in the areas that govern cognitive skills, memory-making, sensory functions like smell and taste.
A study in the UK looked into the long-term impact of the novel coronavirus infection on the human brain, post-recovery - and has made some findings using before-after images of brain scans of COVID-19 recovered patients has made a stunning discovery.
Researchers involved in this study say that it remains unknown however whether the impact of COVID-19 can be detected in milder cases, in a quantitative and automated manner, and whether this can reveal a possible mechanism for the spread of the disease.
The study was coined based on scanning over 40,000 participants before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, making it possible to invite back in 2021 hundreds of previously imaged participants for a second imaging visit.
In this article in the Washington Post by its Science Reporter Ben Guarino, Joanna Hellmuth, a cognitive neurologist at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center, tells him that previously healthy young adults tell her that after even a mild case of covid they have found their brain function slipping. None of these was previously diagnosed with depression or another psychiatric problem.
Hellmuth rues lack of intensive research by medical authorities in the years between earlier large-scale outbreaks. "In SARS and MERS, there were neurological issues," she said, referring to outbreaks in 2003 and 2013 involving diseases caused by other coronaviruses.
"We didn't come into this pandemic with a good understanding of the neurological issues of coronaviruses." Hellmuth hints that unless more research is done this time around, clinicians will be ill-prepared when the next pandemic hits.