Study finds substantial loss of grey matter in Covid19 patients

loss of grey matter in covid19 patients
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As researchers observe the loss of grey matter in covid19 patients, it’s shocking. Grey matter is a part of the central nervous system that controls many functions of the human body. It manages memory, movements and emotions. An abnormality in this part can cause defects in sensory perceptions.

Coronavirus and brain damage | what’s the relation?

Well, Covid19 is famous for respiratory defects. However, the concern of covid19 with brain damage cannot be denied. Last year a brain-covid19 related study was published in The “Lancet Psychiatry journal”. The study said that coronavirus can have potentially adverse effects on the brain leading to strokes and dementia. In the meanwhile, several neurologists also mentioned the harmful effects of the virus on the human brain.

Human brain MRI
Human brain MRI

Research about the loss of grey matter in covid19 patients

UK Biobank (UKB) is a research resource of genetic and health information. They conducted the study based research in the UK. Researchers published the study “Brain Imaging before and after Covid19 in the UK” in medRxiv.

Prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, UKB performed tests on more than 40,000 participants. During the second imaging test in 2021, several hundreds of them were re-invited. The follow-up revealed major losses of grey matter from the human brain.

UKB utilized the data of 782 participants from the study. Scientists studied both cases. Around 404 people had recovered from Covid19. Among them, usable brain scans were of only 394. The researchers made use of brain scans before and after the pandemic. Therefore, they could compare the changes. However, scientists also scanned the brains of coronavirus negative people. The researchers matched 388 controls for ethnicity, sex, age and intervals between the scans.

Three major regions showing the reduction of grey matter
Three major regions showing the reduction of grey matter (Picture credit: medrxiv)

Results of the Research

For the scans, they generated Image derived Phenotypes. Three of the IDPs found around the left lateral orbitofrontal cortex, whereas the last IDP was in the left superior insula. All of these three regions experienced the loss of grey matter. This was among the 15 patients who were known to have been hospitalized with covid19 severity. Other effects were in the left hemisphere and the temporal pole of the right hemisphere, which is the brain’s memory regions.

Researchers observed the harmful impact on the olfactory and gustatory cortical systems. This resulted in a reduction of grey matter near the thalamus also. The significant analysis provides the information that scientists saw most effects on primary and secondary olfactory and gustatory cortical systems of the left hemisphere.

Also read the facts about blood coagulation in covid19 patients here.

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