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RSNA - MRI Reveals Significant Brain Abnormalities Post-COVID

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  • RSNA - MRI Reveals Significant Brain Abnormalities Post-COVID


    RSNA Press Release


    MRI Reveals Significant Brain Abnormalities Post-COVID


    Released: November 21, 2022


    At A Glance
    • Researchers identified changes to the brain stem and frontal lobe in patients months after COVID-19 infection.
    • The affected brain regions are linked with fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, depression, headaches and cognitive problems.
    • Susceptibility-weighted MRI aids in the detection and monitoring of a host of neurologic conditions.

    CHICAGO — Using a special type of MRI, researchers have uncovered brain changes in patients up to six months after they recovered from COVID-19, according to a study being presented next week at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

    About one in five adults will develop long-term effects from COVID-19, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Neurological symptoms associated with long COVID include difficulty thinking or concentrating, headache, sleep problems, lightheadedness, pins-and-needles sensation, change in smell or taste, and depression or anxiety. However, studies have found that COVID-19 may be associated with changes to the heart, lungs or other organs even in asymptomatic patients.

    As more people become infected and recover from COVID-19, research has begun to emerge, focusing on the lasting consequences of the disease.

    For this study, researchers used susceptibility-weighted imaging to analyze the effects that COVID-19 has on the brain. Magnetic susceptibility denotes how much certain materials, such as blood, iron and calcium, will become magnetized in an applied magnetic field. This ability aids in the detection and monitoring of a host of neurologic conditions including microbleeds, vascular malformations, brain tumors and stroke.

    "Group-level studies have not previously focused on COVID-19 changes in magnetic susceptibility of the brain despite several case reports signaling such abnormalities," said study co-author Sapna S. Mishra, a Ph.D. candidate at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi. "Our study highlights this new aspect of the neurological effects of COVID-19 and reports significant abnormalities in COVID survivors."

    The researchers analyzed the susceptibility-weighted imaging data of 46 COVID-recovered patients and 30 healthy controls. Imaging was done within six months of recovery. Among patients with long COVID, the most commonly reported symptoms were fatigue, trouble sleeping, lack of attention and memory issues.

    "Changes in susceptibility values of brain regions may be indicative of local compositional changes," Mishra said. "Susceptibilities may reflect the presence of abnormal quantities of paramagnetic compounds, whereas lower susceptibility could be caused by abnormalities like calcification or lack of paramagnetic molecules containing iron."

    MRI results showed that patients who recovered from COVID-19 had significantly higher susceptibility values in the frontal lobe and brain stem compared to healthy controls. The clusters obtained in the frontal lobe primarily show differences in the white matter.

    "These brain regions are linked with fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, depression, headaches and cognitive problems," Mishra said.

    Portions of the left orbital-inferior frontal gyrus (a key region for language comprehension and production) and right orbital-inferior frontal gyrus (associated with various cognitive functions including attention, motor inhibition and imagery, as well as social cognitive processes) and the adjacent white matter areas made up the frontal lobe clusters.

    The researchers also found a significant difference in the right ventral diencephalon region of the brain stem. This region is associated with many crucial bodily functions, including coordinating with the endocrine system to release hormones, relaying sensory and motor signals to the cerebral cortex and regulating circadian rhythms (the sleep-wake cycle).

    "This study points to serious long-term complications that may be caused by the coronavirus, even months after recovery from the infection," Mishra said. "The present findings are from the small temporal window. However, the longitudinal time points across a couple of years will elucidate if there exists any permanent change."

    The researchers are conducting a longitudinal study on the same patient cohort to determine whether these brain abnormalities persist over a longer time frame.

    Co-authors are Rakibul Hafiz, Ph.D., Tapan Gandhi, Ph.D., Vidur Mahajan, M.B.B.S., Alok Prasad, M.D., and Bharat Biswal, Ph.D.


    https://press.rsna.org/timssnet/medi...et.cfm?id=2381

  • #3
    The abnormal findings were in long/post Covid patients, not in people who are fully recovered. The study doesn't seem to be available in print yet, and we don't know if the brains of post/long Covid patients had the same abnormalities prior to getting sick. No mention is made of their vaccine or health status or age prior to illness. It is not clear to me if the healthy control group are recovered Covid.

    https://www.canindia.com/iit-delhi-r...ovid-patients/

    https://scitechdaily.com/significant...y-special-mri/
    _____________________________________________

    Ask Congress to Investigate COVID Origins and Government Response to Pandemic H.R. 834

    i love myself. the quietest. simplest. most powerful. revolution ever. ---- nayyirah waheed
    Governments don't have or own souls.

    (My posts are not intended as advice or professional assessments of any kind.)
    Never forget Excalibur.

    Comment


    • #4
      Originally posted by Emily View Post
      The abnormal findings were in long/post Covid patients, not in people who are fully recovered. The study doesn't seem to be available in print yet, and we don't know if the brains of post/long Covid patients had the same abnormalities prior to getting sick. No mention is made of their vaccine or health status or age prior to illness. It is not clear to me if the healthy control group are recovered Covid.

      https://www.canindia.com/iit-delhi-r...ovid-patients/

      https://scitechdaily.com/significant...y-special-mri/
      As to the first link the researcher is quoted as saying: "...after they recovered." and .."even months after recovery from the infection,.."
      So the findings appear to be in recovered patients.

      Since the study is about people who have had COVID-19, the assumption is that the "healthy controls" have not had the illness.

      I also would like to see the actual study.

      Comment


      • Emily
        Emily commented
        Editing a comment
        I think doctors/researchers consider "recovery from the infection" to be that you aren't testing positive anymore so as far as they can tell, you have cleared the virus. I think there are some sites in the body where the viruses can hide but that can't be know unless invasive biopsies are done or from autopsies.

        The title of the article is clear that the damages seen are not in healthy recovered patients. I don't see any intent to cause healthy people anxiety.

        "IIT-Delhi researcher reveals significant brain abnormalities in long Covid patients"

    • #5
      Here's the pre-print. How people qualified for the 'healthy control' group is not clear. They were not reported to have been tested for antibodies so may have had mild-moderate unreported Covid cases.
      The Covid recovered had a positive test and illness ranging from severe/hospitalized to mild. All who were willing to share their post Covid symptoms did have symptoms, aka 'long Covid.' So this is essentially a study of long Covid vs healthy people.
      We don't know what the vaccine status is of both groups. I don't see an indication of the virus strain(s), either.
      We don't know what was the condition of the brain before the illness, or what medications were used in the Covid patients.

      It would be nice to see a study of post-vaccine brains, both a healthy vaccinated control and a group with similar symptoms to long Covid patients.

      https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1...600v1.full.pdf
      Keywords:
      COVID-19
      Post-COVID symptoms
      Long COVID

      Susceptibility Weighted Imaging
      Fatigue

      "It also suggests an association of Long COVID with prolonged effects on the brain."
      _____________________________________________

      Ask Congress to Investigate COVID Origins and Government Response to Pandemic H.R. 834

      i love myself. the quietest. simplest. most powerful. revolution ever. ---- nayyirah waheed
      Governments don't have or own souls.

      (My posts are not intended as advice or professional assessments of any kind.)
      Never forget Excalibur.

      Comment


      • #6
        Originally posted by Emily View Post
        They were not reported to have been tested for antibodies so may have had mild-moderate unreported Covid cases
        In this case there is an underestimation of the risk

        Comment


        • Emily
          Emily commented
          Editing a comment
          This was the control group, so they were healthy and no brain issues were found on the scans. The other group had post Covid symptoms and some or all of those had what they considered to be abnormal scans.

        • tetano
          tetano commented
          Editing a comment
          if there are unrecognized positive subjects in the control group, this should make the two groups more similar and therefore cancel out the differences

      • #7
        Originally posted by tetano View Post

        In this case there is an underestimation of the risk
        I agree.

        There is no question that when a patient loses their sense of smell and taste - something has happened in the brain. The brain is not recognizing the information sent by the nose and mouth. This was an early reported symptom and is irrefutable. The only question is what percentage of patients have had brain complications and are these effects long term? - and by long term I mean years and not months. My guess is that there is a range of time depending on the individual patients susceptibility.

        Comment


        • Emily
          Emily commented
          Editing a comment
          Our plumber said that during the pandemic one of his clients postponed a job for awhile. When he got called back, the family was recovered from Covid. The father said, "You can take your mask off, too - we are immune!" The father was overweight and had lost his sense of smell. He was happy because his appetite was reduced and he wanted to lose the weight that had made him so susceptible to the Sars virus.
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