COVID-19 can cause long-term changes in brain structure

November 23, 2022  23:29

Coronavirus infection causes long-term changes in the microstructure of the frontal gyrus and the right side of the intermediate brain, U.S. scientists have found.  These abnormalities persisted in patients even six months after recovery, the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Press Service reported Monday.

In some cases, the coronavirus infection causes brain abnormalities: fever, temporary memory impairment and diminished mental capacity. Researchers have discovered a previously unknown type of change in brain structure that often appears in patients after COVID-19 in mild or severe forms. To do this, they analyzed data collected using SWI imaging from 46 SARS-CoV-2 survivors and 30 healthy volunteers. The test subjects had had the infection six months prior to the start of the observations.

The analysis showed that COVID-19 infection altered the magnetic susceptibility and structure of several brain regions: frontal gyrus, associated white matter, and the right side of the intermediate brain. Disturbances in the frontal gyrus and white matter are associated with the development of insomnia and other behavioral disorders, while changes in the intermediate brain lead to hormonal disruptions.

So far, scientists can't say how long these changes persist or whether they cause the development of the post-cerebral syndrome. Follow-up observations, the researchers hope, will help answer these questions.

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