NIH researchers have observed brain damage between COVID-19 patients despite no apparent brain infection.


The clinical trial of 19 patients shows that brain injury occurs as a consequence of a patient’s illness.

In a detailed analysis of COVID-19, researchers from the National Institutes of Health regularly saw signs of blood vessel damage in the brain in the tissues of patients who died shortly after contracting the disease.

Moreover, they found no signs of SARS-CoV-2 in the brain tissues indicating that SARS-CoV-2 may not have been the cause of injury.

The article was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“We found that the brains of patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 are prone to microvascular damage. Our findings suggest that this may be caused by the body’s inflammatory response to the virus,” said Avindra Nath, M.D., NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke clinical director and lead author of the report. “We hope these results will help physicians understand the full spectrum of problems patients may suffer from so we can develop better treatments.”

However, many people who are diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) experience neurological symptoms, such as headaches, dizziness, exhaustion, and loss of sense of smell.

The disease can also cause neurological damage, including strokes as well as other health problems. Numerous studies indicate that rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation and damage to blood vessels.

In a study on SARS-CoV-2, researchers find evidence of infecting patients with the virus. It is unknown to what degree the disorder affects the brain though.

In this analysis, researchers found that brain tissue from 19 patients who died from CJD during the summer of 2020 were analyzed. Samples from 16 patient cases were provided by the New York Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Samples from the Iowa City Department of Pathology were provided by the University of Iowa.

The patients died at various ages, from five to seventy-three years of age.

They died within a few hours to a few months from when they first encountered their symptoms. For several patients, one or more risk factors contributed to the illness.

Eight people died of the flu at home or in public locations.

Three more patients have died unexpectedly.

Second, the researchers studied the olfactory bulbs and brain stems of all their patients using an advanced magnetic resonance imaging technique that is four to ten times more sensitive than other MRI scanners.

These regions are more prone to COVID-19 than other areas. The olfactory bulbs regulate one’s sense of smell, while the brainstem regulates the respiration and heart rate.

The scans showed both regions to have a high level of bright spots, indicating inflammation, and high level of dark spots, indicating bleeding.

The researchers used the MRI scans as a reference to the precise locations for their further investigations.

In the medical imaging analysis, researchers discovered that the blood vessels in the light spots contained thinner blood vessels and leaked blood proteins, such as fibrinogen, into the brain.

This triggered an obvious immune response.

The patches were wrapped around T cells from the blood and microglia from the brain that come from the immune system.

However, lesions contained both intravascular clots and punctate hemorrhages, but no immune responses.

“This was completely unexpected. We had assumed that the reaction was driven by lack of oxygen.”

As compared to that, we observed multifocal areas of damage characteristic of strokes and axonal neurodegeneration.

There was no definitive proof of infection in the brain tissue samples, but they used multiple detection methods to scan for the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

“So far, our results suggest that the damage we saw may not have been caused by direct infection of the brain with the SARS-CoV-2 virus,” Dr. Nath said. “In the future, we want to investigate how COVID-19 damages the brain’s blood vessels and whether that causes some of the short- and long-term symptoms we see in patients.”.

Reference: Microvascular.


Leave A Reply