Above 18 months of pandemic In the rear-view mirror, researchers are steadily gathering new and important insights into the effects of COVID-19 on the body and brain. These findings raise concerns about the long-term effects of coronavirus on biological processes such as aging.
As Cognitive neuroscientist, My past research The focus is on understanding how normal brain changes associated with aging affect the thinking and motor skills of people, especially after middle age.But as there is more evidence that COVID-19 can have an impact Body and brain Over the months after infection, my research team was interested in investigating how it also affects the natural process of aging.
Looking into the brain’s response to COVID-19
August 2021 Preliminary but large-scale research Investigating changes in the brains of people who have experienced COVID-19 has received a great deal of attention within the neuroscientific community.
In that study, researchers relied on an existing database called UK BiobankContains brain image data of over 45,000 people UK returns to 2014.. This means that there were baseline data and brain images of all these people before the pandemic.
The research team analyzed brain image data and brought back a person diagnosed with COVID-19 for an additional brain scan. They compared those who experienced COVID-19 with those who did not, and compared age, gender, baseline study date, study location, and general risk factors for diseases such as health variables and socioeconomic status. We carefully matched the groups based on.
The team found that there was a significant difference in the gray matter of the cell bodies of neurons that process information in the brain between those infected with COVID-19 and those who were not. Specifically, the thickness of gray matter tissue in the brain region known as the frontal and temporal lobes is reduced in the COVID-19 group, unlike the typical pattern seen in the group not experiencing COVID-19. Did.
In the general population, there is usually some change in the amount and thickness of gray matter with age, but the change in people infected with COVID-19 was greater than usual.
Interestingly, when researchers isolated individuals with severe illnesses that required hospitalization, the results were similar to those who experienced milder COVID-19. That is, people infected with COVID-19 showed a decrease in brain volume, even if it was not severe enough to require hospitalization.
Finally, researchers also investigated changes in cognitive task performance and found that people infected with COVID-19 process information more slowly than those who do not.
While waiting for a formal peer review, these findings need to be carefully interpreted, but with a large sample of the same people, pre- and post-illness data, and careful matching with people who did not have COVID-19. , This preliminary work is especially valuable. ..
What do these changes in brain volume mean?
One of the most common reports from people infected with COVID-19 early in the pandemic Taste and smell..
Surprisingly, all brain regions found to be affected by COVID-19 by British researchers are linked to the olfactory bulb. The olfactory bulb is a structure near the front of the brain that passes signals about the sense of smell from the nose to other brain regions. The olfactory bulb connects to the area of the temporal lobe. The temporal lobe is often talked about in relation to aging and Alzheimer’s disease. Kaiba It is located. The hippocampus can play an important role in aging, given its involvement in memory and cognitive processes.
Smell sensations are also important for the study of Alzheimer’s disease. Some data suggest that there is a risk of this disease. The sense of smell is weakened.. Although it is premature to draw conclusions about the long-term effects of these COVID-related changes, investigating the potential association between COVID-19-related brain changes and memory is particularly relevant in the regions and their areas. It’s very interesting given its importance. Memory and Alzheimer’s disease.
These new discoveries bring important but unanswered questions: what do these brain changes after COVID-19 mean for the process and pace of aging? And over time, does the brain recover to some extent from a viral infection?
These are active and open research areas, some of which have begun in our own lab in connection with ongoing research investigating brain aging.
The work of our laboratory is that as people get older, the brain thinks, Information processing method is different.. In addition, changes have been seen over time. Human body moves And how people learn new motor skills.Several Decades of work Elderly people have shown difficulty in processing and manipulating information, such as mentally updating their shopping lists, but usually maintain knowledge of facts and vocabulary.When it comes to motor skills, we know it Elderly still learn, But they do more Slowly young adults..
With regard to brain structure, there is usually a decrease in brain size in adults over the age of 65. This reduction is not limited to just one area. Differences can be seen in many areas of the brain. Also, the loss of brain tissue usually increases the amount of cerebrospinal fluid that fills the space.In addition, the white matter, the axon insulator, which is a long cable that carries electrical impulses between nerve cells. Not unharmed in the elderly..
NS Life expectancy has increased Over the last few decades, more individuals have reached aging. Our goal is for everyone to live a long and healthy life, but even in the best-case scenario of being sick and free of disabilities, our thinking and behavior change as we grow older.
Learning how all these puzzle pieces are combined will help us unravel the mysteries of aging and improve the quality of life and function of aging individuals. And now, in the context of COVID-19, it will help us understand the extent to which the brain may recover after illness.
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This article was originally published in The Conversation. This publication contributed an article to Live Science’s Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.
Preliminary studies have found that even mild COVID-19 can contract the brain
Source link Preliminary studies have found that even mild COVID-19 can contract the brain