Research carried out by Brazilian scientists states that even asymptomatic patients or patients with mild Covid-19 can suffer brain damage and have neuropsychiatric and / or neurological symptoms after being infected.
According to the article published on Tuesday (10/13), in a pre-print version on the medRxiv platform, neurological symptoms such as severe headaches, excessive sleepiness, altered memory and loss of smell and taste were observed in patients up to two months after recovery.
Anxiety and cognitive impairment were reported by at least 28% of patients with mild or no respiratory symptoms who tested positive, according to an article signed by more than 70 researchers from the State University of Campinas (Unicamp), São Paulo (USP), Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Instituto D’Or and the National Biosciences Laboratory (LNBio).
In another arm of the study, carried out from the brain tissue of patients who died from Covid-19, the researchers realized that, upon entering the brain, the virus attacks a cell responsible for metabolic processes, which impairs energy production for neurons.
“Infection of astrocytes derived from neural stem cells altered energy metabolism, altered key proteins and metabolites used to feed neurons and for neurotransmitter biogenesis, and triggered a secretory phenotype that reduces neuronal viability,” wrote the authors of study.
Atrophies in areas related to anxiety and alterations in the structure of the cortex, a brain region richer in neurons and responsible for memory, language, awareness and attention, were also observed.
The results also suggest that the virus can trigger genetic diseases such as schizophrenia, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Doctors will closely monitor the group of patients who survived Covid-19 to understand the severity of the injuries, whether they are irreversible and whether the virus has the potential to develop degenerative diseases.