Infection with COVID-19 in key regions of the brain can lead to accelerated aging of the brain

Summary: The effects of COVID-19 infection on neurological health are becoming increasingly apparent. A new study reveals that COVID-19 may predispose people to irreversible neurological conditions, accelerate brain aging, and increase the risk of stroke and bleeding into the brain.

Source: Houston Methodist

A new study by researchers at Houston Methodist reviews emerging insights and evidence that suggests COVID-19 infections may have both short-term and long-term neurological effects.

The main findings include that COVID-19 infections may predispose individuals to develop irreversible neurological conditions, may increase the likelihood of strokes, and may increase the risk of developing permanent brain changes that can lead to bleeding from the brain.

A research team led by correspondent authors Dr. Joy Mitra, an instructor, and Dr. Muralidhar L. Hegde, professor of neurosurgery, reported on their findings in an article entitled “SARS-CoV-2 and the Central Nervous System: Emerging Insights into the Neurological Consequences of Hemorrhage and Therapeutic Considerations.” in the magazine Aging Research Reviews.

Still a heavy burden on our daily lives, many studies have shown that the effects of the disease extend well beyond the actual time of infection. Since the start of the pandemic, COVID-19 has exceeded the death toll of more than 5.49 million worldwide and more than 307 million confirmed positive cases, with the US accounting for nearly 90 million of these cases, according to Our World in Data website.

COVID-19 is known to attack and infect the brain as well as other major organs. While much research has been done to help us understand the evolution, infection, and pathology of the disease, much remains unclear about the long-term effects, especially on the brain.

Coronavirus infection can cause long-lasting and irreversible neurodegenerative diseases, especially in the elderly and other vulnerable populations. Several brain imaging studies of COVID-19 victims and survivors have confirmed the development of microbleeding changes in deeper areas of the brain related to our cognitive and memory functions.

In this review study, researchers critically assessed possible chronic neuropathological outcomes in aging and comorbid populations if timely therapeutic intervention is not implemented.

Microbleeding are emerging neuropathological signatures that are often identified in people suffering from chronic stress, depressive disorders, diabetes and age-related diseases. Based on their previous findings, the researchers discuss how the microhaemorrhagic changes induced by COVID-19 can exacerbate DNA damage in affected brain cells, causing neuronal aging and activation of cell death mechanisms that ultimately affect the brain’s microstructure.

These pathological phenomena resemble the hallmarks of neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and can exacerbate advanced-stage dementia as well as cognitive and motor deficits.

It shows the brain
Still a heavy burden on our daily lives, many studies have shown that the effects of the disease extend well beyond the actual time of infection. The image is in the public domain

Research is currently underway on the effects of COVID-19 infection on various aspects of the central nervous system. For example, 20-30% of COVID-19 patients report a chronic mental state known as “brain fog” in which people suffer from symptoms such as memory loss, difficulty concentrating, forgetting daily activities, difficulty choosing the right words, lasting longer than usual time to complete a normal task, confused thought processes and emotional numbness.

The more serious long-term effects analyzed in the Houston Methodist review article include a predisposition to Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and related neurodegenerative diseases, as well as cardiovascular disorders due to internal bleeding and changes caused by blood clotting in the part of the brain that regulates our respiratory system, following symptoms of COVID- 19.

In addition, cell aging is believed to be accelerated in COVID-19 patients. The abundance of cellular stress prevents virus-infected cells from undergoing their normal biological functions and allows them to enter “hibernation mode” or even die entirely.

The study also suggests different strategies for improving some of these long-term neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative outcomes, and highlights the importance of a “nanozyme” therapeutic regimen in conjunction with various FDA-approved drugs that may prove effective in fighting this catastrophic disease.

However, given the ever-evolving nature of the field, associations such as those described in this review show that the fight against COVID-19 is far from over, the researchers say, and reinforce the message that vaccination and proper hygiene are key in trying to prevent such long-term exposure. and harmful consequences.

About this COVID-19 and the news of neuroscience research

Author: Press office
Source: Houston Methodist
Contact: Press Office – Houston Methodist
Image: The image is in the public domain

See also

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Original research: Open access.
“SARS-CoV-2 and the Central Nervous System: Emerging Insights into the Neurological Consequences of Hemorrhage and Therapeutic Considerations” Joy Mitra et al. Aging Research Reviews


SARS-CoV-2 and the central nervous system: a new look at the neurological consequences of hemorrhage and therapeutic considerations

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) continues to affect our lives, causing widespread disease and death, and poses a threat due to the possible emergence of new strains. SARS-CoV-2 attacks the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) before it enters vital organs of the body, including the brain. Studies have shown that systemic inflammation, cell aging, and multiorgan failure mediated by viral toxicity occur during periods of infectious disease.

However, prognostic studies suggest that both acute and long-term neurological complications, including a predisposition to irreversible neurodegenerative disease, may pose a serious problem for COVID-19 survivors, especially in the elderly population.

As new research reveals sites of SARS-CoV-2 infection in various parts of the brain, the potential causes of chronic lesions, including cerebral and deep microbleeds, and the likelihood of stroke-like pathologies are increasing, with critical long-term consequences, particularly for people with neuropathological conditions. and / or age-related.

Our recent research linking blood degradation products with genomic instability leading to cell aging and ferroptosis suggests the possibility of similar neurovascular events from SARS-CoV-2 infection.

In this review, we discuss the neuropathological consequences of SARS-CoV-2 infection in COVID survivors, focusing on possible hemorrhagic damage in brain cells, its association with aging, and future directions for therapeutic strategies based on mechanisms.

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