Mild cases of Covid-19 can cause brains to shrink

25 Apr 2022 04:10pm
No Image Caption

Research shows that even a mild Covid-19 infection can result in your brain to shrink, leading to brain fog and cognitive issues, according to National Geographic.

About one-fourth of the roughly 80 million Americans who have contracted Covid-19 so far suffer from impaired cognition, also known as brain fog.

Now, what does brain fog mean?

A professor of psychiatry at University of Toronto, Edward Shorter said it has become an umbrella term for describing an array of symptoms such as confusion, word-finding difficulties, short-term memory loss, dizziness, or inability to concentrate.

According to research, patients hospitalised with Covid-19 are almost three times more likely than those not hospitalised to have impaired cognition.

It is even surprising that brain scans now have shown that physical changes to the brain are equivalent to a decade of ageing.

A neurologist at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Ayush Batra explained there is evidence of neurologic injury (post covid) that is persistent.

“We are seeing biological and biochemical evidence of it, we are seeing radiographic evidence of it, and most importantly, the patients are complaining of their symptoms.

Related Articles:

It is affecting their quality of life and day-to-day functioning,” Batra said as he, together with his colleagues, has shown chemical indicators of injured brain neurons among long Covid patients with neurologic symptoms.

Researchers in the United Kingdom also studied brain alterations in persons before and after they acquired mild Covid-19 and found some of the most persuasive evidence of neurological harm.

The 785 participants, aged 51 to 81, who had already been scanned before the outbreak, were scanned three years apart on average as part of the U.K. Biobank research.

SARS-CoV-2 had infected 401 of these volunteers, according to tests and medical records and only 15 of the 401 were hospitalised due to minor infections.

The results showed that four and half months after a mild Covid infection, patients had lost, on average, between 0.2 and 2 percent of brain volume and had thinner gray matter than healthy people.

In the hippocampus, a memory-related area, older adults lose between 0.2 and 0.3 percent of their grey matter each year.

Covid-19 patients had 0.7 percent greater tissue damage in the smell-related area of the brain than healthy ones.

Their performance on cognitive tests deteriorated at a faster rate than before the illness. On the two tests that tested attention, visual screening ability, and processing speed, they took 8% and 12% longer.

On memory recall, reaction time, and reasoning tests, the patients were not significantly slower.

To a large extent, research has proven that Covid-19 patients consistently perform worse on tests of attention, memory, and executive function than healthy people.

Even with cognitive rehabilitation, Jacques Hugon, a neurologist at the University of Paris Lariboisiere Hospital, says it's unclear whether the brain will heal itself or whether patients will ever recover.

A writer and teacher in Los Angeles, Elena Katzap who suffered from acute loss of memory and lack of concentration after contracting Covid-19 at the end of January 2022.

She remembered being thankful that she only got a mild case of Covid-19 where she was bedridden with fever and coughing for three and a half days. Little did she know what will come as the after-effects of the virus.

“I very specifically remember saying, God it feels so good to be healthy again.

“Then all of a sudden, the very next day it smacked me, and I didn't know what it was, because it started off with nausea and some stomach issues and some weird forgetfulness,” Katzap said.

She shared that she has since experienced the brain fog where her mind became blank in the middle of conversations, and she had trouble forming words mid-sentence.

“It isn't physically painful, but it's so frustrating,” she said.

For some cases, these symptoms don’t always manifest immediately after infection.

Richard Newman, a former member of the United States Army who currently works as an IT manager in Houston, Texas shared about the after-effects of Covid-19 to his cognitive skills.

In June 2021, he developed a serious Covid-19 infection and spent two weeks in the ICU. But it wasn't until a month after he was released from the hospital that he began to have cognitive issues, including trouble recognising people.

"I recognised the face and knew I was meant to recognise them, but I couldn't remember their name,” Newman said.

Eight months after being diagnosed with Covid-19, his symptoms haven't improved much. "It's unpleasant, it's debilitating, and it has a significant impact on your quality of life," he added.

The health experts are concerned that the people have not yet realised that the time for us to lower our guard against the spread of the disease has not yet come, just because the mild case of Covid-19 has no significant impact on the body.

Research has simply proved the opposite.