A new artificial intelligence (AI) based analysis from the US has shown that COVID19 disease that is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus might result in certain changes in the brain that are consistent with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. A team of scientists has been able to find a mechanism that might be triggering such damage in the brain due to COVID19 infection. The new analysis has been put together by experts from Cleveland Clinic. They have said that cognitive issues such as dementia have been surfacing as complications of the highly infectious SARS-CoV-2 virus. The authors of the study have said that cases of neurological issues in people with COVID19 and long hauler patients of COVID19 means those who deal with long-lasting symptoms of the viral disease even after recovery have become quite common. The findings of the study have been released in the journal called Alzheimer’s Research and Therapy. Experts who have been involved in the study have said that the aim of the study has been to find out the mechanism that leads to issues that are linked to the brain such as delirium and the loss of taste and smell. Experts have said that loss of smell and taste is quite a common symptom of COVID19. In order to find out the system that leads to cognitive impairments in COVID19 patients, experts have compared the host genes of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and genes that can cause neurological complications on a molecular level.
In the study, the authors have collected health data of COVID19 patients and people who have been dealing with Alzheimer’s disease. The authors of the new study have measured the proximity between these patients with the help of artificial intelligence. Health experts as well have observed genetic factors that might help the virus to infiltrate brain tissues and cells. They have found noteworthy network-based links between COVID19 and Alzheimer’s disease patients. The study has noted that patients who are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease might be at a higher risk of contracting the SARS-CoV-2 virus as they have low numbers of defensive antiviral genes. The authors of the study have not been able to find major evidence that the virus can directly attack the brain. However, they have been able to discover close network links between the COVID19 virus and genes or proteins that are linked to many neurological issues, most notably to Alzheimer’s disease. Experts have found pathways by which the COVID19 can result in dementia linked to Alzheimer’s disease. With the new study, health experts have proved an overlap between COVID19 disease and certain brain changes that are consistent with Alzheimer’s disease.
The lead author of the study, Feixiong Cheng has said that it is vital to find out how COVID19 and neurological issues are linked to come up with effective and preventive therapeutic plans. Effective treatment for such mental issues will be crucial to address the surge in the cases of neurological impairment that we might witness in the future, said the expert. The authors of the new analysis have pointed out that many past studies as well have shown that some COVID19 patients might be dealing with neurological conditions that directly affect the brain. A past study has noted that one in every five COVID19 patients who have overcome the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV-1) or the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) have admitted that they have been dealing with damage in memory function. Many people who have recovered from COVID19 disease as well have said that they have been suffering from disorientation, confusion, and lack of attention. A study that has enrolled more than 230000 COVID19 patients has shown that COVID19 patients who have been admitted to the intensive care units are at a higher risk of being diagnosed with cognitive and psychiatric issues.