COVID-19 infection in crucial brain regions could lead to accelerated brain aging

Overview: 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 disorders, accelerate brain aging and increase the risk of stroke and brain haemorrhage.

Source: Houston Methodist

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

Key findings include that COVID-19 infections may predispose individuals to developing irreversible neurological disorders, increase the likelihood of stroke and increase the likelihood of developing persistent brain lesions that can lead to cerebral hemorrhage.

Led by corresponding authors Joy Mitra, Ph.D., Instructor, and Muralidhar L. Hegde, Ph.D., Professor of Neurosurgery, with the DNA Repair Division within the Houston Methodist Research Institute’s Center for Neuroregeneration, the research team described their findings in an article entitled “SARS-CoV-2 and the Central Nervous System: Emerging Insights into Hemorrhage-Associated Neurological Consequences and Therapeutic Considerations” in the journal Aging Research Reviews.

Still a major burden on our daily lives, much research has shown that the effects of the disease go far beyond the actual moment of infection. Since the start of the pandemic, COVID-19 has surpassed a death toll of more than 5.49 million worldwide and more than 307 million confirmed positive cases, with the U.S. responsible for nearly 90 million of those cases, according to the Our World in Data report. web site .

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

The coronavirus infection can cause long-term and irreversible neurodegenerative diseases, especially in the elderly and other vulnerable populations. Several brain imaging studies in COVID-19 victims and survivors have confirmed the formation of microbleeding lesions in deeper brain regions related to our cognitive and memory functions.

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

Microbleeds are emerging neuropathological features often identified in people suffering from chronic stress, major depressive disorder, diabetes and age-related co-morbidities. Based on their previous findings, the researchers discuss how COVID-19-induced microhemorrhagic lesions can exacerbate DNA damage in affected brain cells, resulting in neuronal aging and activation of cell death mechanisms, ultimately affecting the brain’s microstructure vasculature.

These pathological manifestations resemble features of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and are likely to exacerbate advanced dementia, as well as cognitive and motor deficits.

This shows a brain
Still a major burden on our daily lives, much research has shown that the effects of the disease go far beyond the actual moment of infection. Image is in the public domain

The effects of COVID-19 infection on various aspects of the central nervous system are currently being studied. For example, 20-30% of COVID-19 patients report a persistent mental illness known as ‘brain fog’, in which individuals suffer from symptoms such as memory loss, difficulty concentrating, forgetting daily activities, difficulty selecting the right words, taking time to complete a normal task, disoriented thought processes and emotional numbness.

More serious long-term effects analyzed in the Houston Methodist review include predisposition to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and related neurodegenerative diseases, as well as cardiovascular disease due to internal bleeding and clotting-induced lesions in the part of the brain that regulates our respiratory system. of the COVID-19 symptoms.

In addition, cellular aging is believed to be accelerated in COVID-19 patients. An abundance of cellular stress prevents the virus-infected cells from undergoing their normal biological functions and causes them to go into “sleep mode” or even die completely.

The study also suggests several strategies to improve some of these long-term neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative outcomes, and also outlines the importance of the “nanozyme” therapeutic regimen in combination with several FDA-approved drugs that may prove successful at addressing this. combat catastrophic disease.

However, given the ever-evolving nature of this field, associations like those described in this review show that the fight against COVID-19 is far from over, the researchers say, reinforcing the message that getting vaccinated and maintaining good health hygiene are essential in trying to avoid such long-lasting and adverse effects.

About this COVID-19 and neurological research news

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

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


Abstract

SARS-CoV-2 and the Central Nervous System: New Insights into Bleeding-Associated Neurological Consequences and Therapeutic Considerations

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) continues to affect our lives by causing widespread illness and death and poses a threat due to the possibility of emerging strains. SARS-CoV-2 targets angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) before entering vital organs of the body, including the brain. Studies have shown that systemic inflammation, cellular aging and viral toxicity caused multi-organ failure occur during infectious periods.

However, prognostic studies suggest that both acute and long-term neurological complications, including predisposition to irreversible neurodegenerative diseases, may be a serious concern for COVID-19 survivors, particularly the elderly population.

As emerging studies reveal sites of SARS-CoV-2 infection in different parts of the brain, potential causes of chronic lesions, including cerebral and deep brain hemorrhages, and the likelihood of developing stroke-like pathologies are increasing, with critical long-term consequences, especially for individuals with neuropathological and/or age-related comorbidities.

Our recent studies linking the blood degradation products to genome instability, leading to cellular senescence and ferroptosis, raise the possibility of similar neurovascular events resulting 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 the future directions in developing mechanism-driven therapeutic strategies.

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