The COVID-19 hangover scientists just don’t understand yet

Brittany A. Roston - Sep 15, 2020, 5:41pm CDT
The COVID-19 hangover scientists just don’t understand yet

Many people view COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, in a very binary way: either they’re sick or not, either they recover or they don’t. These ideas don’t paint a complete picture, however, and health experts are once again pointing out the complexity of this disease. A new study found that more than half of tested COVID-19 patients continued to suffer from neurological issues months after ‘recovering.’

A growing body of evidence over the past several months has underscored the fact that death is the biggest COVID-19 risk, but it’s not the only risk; the condition has also been linked to the spontaneous development of diabetes, heart inflammation and damage, cardiac-related death after ‘recovering,’ loss of smell, permanent lung damage, and other issues. A new study focuses on the neurological aspects.

The loss of smell reported by many COVID-19 patients has long implicated the neurological damage that can be caused by this novel coronavirus. The latest study, which was published by The Lancet, reports that out of 60 COVID-19 patients, 55-percent of them went on to display ‘neurological symptoms’ three months after recovering from the disease.

The researchers used imaging technologies to look at the brains of these patients, as well as 39 non-COVID-19 control participants; they found ‘statistically significantly higher bilateral gray matter volumes’ in certain parts of the infected patients’ brains. These parts of the brain were linked to loss of smell and memory loss.

The researchers state that their study ‘revealed possible disruption to micro-structural and functional brain integrity in the recovery stages of COVID-19, suggesting the long-term consequences of SARS-CoV-2.’ This means that anyone who contracts COVID-19 is at risk of developing long-term consequences of the disease, the full scope of which is still unknown at this time.

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