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Infection may accelerate brain aging, new study finds

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COVID-19 infections may predispose individuals to develop irreversible neurological conditions and accelerate brain aging, according to a new study, cited by the Business Standard.

The finding, published in the journal Aging Research Reviews, also shows that Covid-19 can increase the likelihood of strokes and the risk of developing persistent damage that can lead to brain haemorrhages.

The team, led by Joy Mitra and Muralidhar L. Hegde, of the Houston Methodist Research Institute, US, noted that extensive research has shown that the impacts of the disease go well beyond the actual moment of the infection.

COVID-19 is known to invade and infect the brain, among other important organs, the researchers said, adding that infection can cause long-term 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 microhemorrhage lesions in deeper brain regions related to our cognitive and memory functions.

Researchers have critically assessed the possible chronic neuropathological outcomes in aging and populations if timely therapeutic intervention is not implemented.

Microhemorrhages are emergent neuropathological signatures often identified in people with chronic stress, depressive disorders, diabetes, and age-related comorbidities.

Based on their previous findings, the researchers observed that COVID-19-induced microhemorrhagic injury can exacerbate DNA damage in affected brain cells, leading to neuronal senescence and activation of cell death mechanisms, which ultimately impact the microstructure and vasculature of the brain. .

These pathological phenomena resemble the hallmarks of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and are likely to exacerbate late-stage dementia, as well as cognitive and motor deficits.

The effects of COVID-19 infection on various aspects of the central nervous system are currently being studied, experts said.

For example, 20-30% of COVID-19 patients report a persistent psychological condition known as “brain fog”, in which individuals suffer from symptoms such as memory loss, difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness daily activities, difficulty selecting the right words, taking longer than usual to complete a regular task, disoriented thought processes and emotional numbness.

More serious long-term effects analyzed in the review include susceptibility to Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and related neurodegenerative diseases, as well as cardiovascular disorders due to internal bleeding and blood-induced injury. blood clotting in the part of the brain that regulates our respiratory system, following Covid19.

Cellular aging is also thought to be accelerated in patients with COVID-19, the researchers said.

The study also suggests several strategies to improve some of these long-term neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative outcomes and highlights the importance of the “nanozyme” treatment regimen in combination with several FDA-approved drugs that may be successful in combating this problem. catastrophic illness.

However, given the ever-evolving nature of this field, associations such as those described in this review show that the fight against Covid-19 is far from over, the team said, adding that getting vaccinated and maintaining good hygiene are essential in trying to avoid such harmful and long-term consequences.

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