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Coronavirus likely to affect brain, UTSA study finds

UT Health officials said the researchers will continue to collect information over the next 2-3 years and expect initial results in early 2022. The World Health Organization is also helping guide the study.
Jan 6, 2021 – 05:33 PM EST
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SAN ANTONIO, Texas.- Researchers at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio (UTSA) study how the coronavirus impacts the brain.
Researchers at UT Health helped write the report, including lead author Gabriel A. de Erausquin, who said that "since the flu pandemic of 1917 and 1918, many flu-like illnesses have been associated with brain disorders." .

Researchers have already discovered that the coronavirus enters cellular receptors called ACE2, the highest concentration of which can be found in the olfactory bulb of the brain, which is related to people's sense of smell.
Olfactory cells are very susceptible to viral invasion and are particularly attacked by SARS-CoV-2, and that is why one of the prominent symptoms of covid-19 is loss of smell.

The olfactory bulb connects to the brain's hippocampus, which is primarily responsible for short-term memory.

"The virus trail, when it invades the brain, leads almost directly to the hippocampus," said de Erausquin. “This is believed to be one of the sources of the cognitive decline seen in covid-19 patients. We suspect that it may also be part of the reason that there will be accelerated cognitive decline over time in susceptible individuals. "

Researchers have also found that SARS-CoV-2 can be found in the brain after the death of patients and that abnormal brain images, sometimes characterized by lesions in different areas of the brain, "have emerged as an important feature. of the virus from all parts of the world. "

UT Health officials said the researchers will continue to collect information over the next 2-3 years and expect initial results in early 2022. The World Health Organization is also helping guide the study.

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