Covid infection may accelerate brain ageing

These pathological phenomena resemble hallmarks of neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases and are likely to aggravate advanced-stage dementia, as well as cognitive and motor deficits.
Representational picture
Representational pictureFile

New York, Aug 1: Covid-19 infections may predispose individuals to developing irreversible neurological conditions, finds a study.

The study by Houston Methodist researchers showed that Covid infection may increase the likelihood of strokes and may increase the chance of developing persistent brain lesions that can lead to brain bleeding.

Covid-19 is known to invade and infect the brain, among other major organs. Several brain imaging studies on Covid victims and survivors have confirmed the formation of microbleed lesions in deeper brain regions related to our cognitive and memory functions.

In the review study, published in the journal Ageing Research Reviews, researchers have critically evaluated the possible chronic neuropathological outcomes in ageing and comorbid populations if timely therapeutic intervention is not implemented.

Microbleeds are emerging neuropathological signatures frequently identified in people suffering from chronic stress, depressive disorders, diabetes and age-associated comorbidities.

Based on their earlier findings, the investigators discuss how Covid-induced micro-haemorrhagic lesions may exacerbate DNA damage in affected brain cells, resulting in neuronal senescence and activation of cell death mechanisms, which ultimately impact brain microstructure-vasculature.

These pathological phenomena resemble hallmarks of neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases and are likely to aggravate advanced-stage dementia, as well as cognitive and motor deficits.

Further, the review includes Covid's predispositions for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and related neurodegenerative diseases, as well as cardiovascular disorders due to internal bleeding and blood clotting-induced lesions in the part of the brain that regulates our respiratory system, following the Covid symptoms.

In addition, cellular ageing is thought to be accelerated in Covid patients. A plethora of cellular stresses inhibit the virus-infected cells from undergoing their normal biological functions and let them enter into "hibernation mode" or even die completely.

The study also suggests various strategies to improve some of these long-term neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative outcomes, as well as outlines the importance of the therapeutic regimen of the "nanozyme" in combination with various FDA-approved drugs that may prove successful to fight against this catastrophic disease.

However, given the ever-evolving nature of this field, associations like the ones described in this review show the fight against Covid is far from over, said the researchers, and reinforce the message that getting vaccinated and maintaining proper hygiene are key in trying to prevent such long-term and detrimental consequences.

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