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New study highlights how COVID-19 impacts brain health

Experts say neurological symptoms are common among COVID-19 patients

Doctors analyzing brain scan
Photo (c) Andriy Onufriyenko - Getty Images
A new study conducted by researchers from Tulane University explored how COVID-19 affects consumers’ brain function. They learned that those who are infected with the virus are likely to experience neurological symptoms like inflammation, reduced blood flow to the brain, and neuron damage; this was true even for those with mild cases of the virus. 

“Because the subjects didn’t experience significant respiratory symptoms, no one expected them to have the severity of disease that we found in the brain,” said researcher Tracy Fischer, Ph.D. “But the findings were distinct and profound, and undeniably a result of the infection.” 

Identifying neurological concerns

For the study, the researchers analyzed data from the Tulane National Primate Research Center. The team evaluated the brain tissue of primates that had been infected with COVID-19. 

Their work showed that neurological symptoms were common among the animals that had been infected with the virus. This was true even when the subjects showed more mild symptoms related to COVID-19. The findings showed that headaches and confusion were linked with COVID-19, as well as serious brain inflammation, small brain bleeds, and a reduction in blood flow and oxygen to the brain. 

While the researchers are unclear how long these symptoms can last, neurological symptoms have been linked with human studies on COVID-19 before. Researchers found that these symptoms can severely affect consumers who are infected with the virus, regardless of how severe their respiratory symptoms are. 

Moving forward, the researchers hope more studies are done using primate subjects because they could help advance our understanding of how COVID-19 affects people.

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