A study by scientists at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) (IIT) Delhi found brain changes in patients who recovered from the Covid-19 virus. The study reports that significant changes in the brain can be seen in patients with Covid-19 for up to six months. It also states that around one in five adults will develop long-term effects from Covid-19. While neurological symptoms in patients with Covid-19 include difficulty thinking or concentrating, headache, sleep problems, dizziness, tingling, a change in smell or taste, and depression or anxiety, some may experience changes in brain function after being infected with the virus.
Changes after Covid-19 are not limited to patients, the virus can be associated with changes in the heart, lungs or other organs even in asymptomatic patients. The study largely analyzed the effects of Covid-19 on the brain. Co-author of the study, Sapna S Mishra, said: “Group-level studies have not previously focused on changes in brain magnetic susceptibility caused by COVID-19 despite several case reports signaling such abnormalities. Our study highlights this new aspect of the neurological effects of Covid-19 and reports significant abnormalities in Covid survivors.”
For this study, researchers analyzed sensitivity-weighted imaging data from 46 Covid patients and 30 healthy controls. The study found that patients with Covid-19 mostly reported symptoms such as fatigue, sleep problems, lack of attention and memory problems. Mishra said, “Changes in sensitivity values of brain regions can indicate local changes in composition. Sensitivity may reflect the presence of abnormal amounts of paramagnetic compounds, while lower sensitivity may be due to abnormalities such as calcification or a deficiency of iron-containing paramagnetic molecules.”
Recovered covid patients had higher sensitivity values in the frontal lobe and brainstem. The researchers also found a significant difference in the right ventral diencephalon region of the brainstem – associated with bodily functions. Sapna Mishra said: “This study highlights the serious long-term complications that the coronavirus can cause, even months after recovery from infection.”