Dec, 2022 - By SMI
A postmortem examination of 54 healthy and infected persons revealed that severe COVID-19 in the human brain has a startling resemblance to old age.
According to Harvard University public health expert Jonathan Lee, "we found that gene expression in the brain tissue of patients who died from COVID-19 closely resembled that of uninfected individuals 71 years of age or older."
The sample's age ranges from early twenties to mid-eighties. A non-infected person with Alzheimer's disease and a different set of 9 non-infected people with a history of hospitalisation or ventilator therapy were also used as comparison samples by the researchers.
The prefrontal brain samples of people with severe COVID-19 showed enhanced patterns of genetic expression that are related to ageing, according to research using RNA sequencing techniques.
Regardless of their actual age, the brains of infected individuals resembled older individuals in the control group more.
Simply said, genes associated with the immune system, which are typically upregulated in ageing, were also upregulated in severe COVID-19.
At the same time, genes associated with synaptic activity, cognition, and memory that are downregulated with age were also downregulated in severe COVID-19.
We also found strong correlations between cellular response to DNA damage, mitochondrial function, control of stress and oxidative stress, vesicular transport, calcium homeostasis, and insulin signaling/secretion pathways previously linked to ageing processes and brain ageing.
Our studies collectively indicate that several molecular mechanisms that alter with normal brain ageing also alter in severe COVID-19.
Scientists have been concerned about potential long-term effects ever since the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 started to infect humans globally.
One of the most detrimental effects is brain damage. When COVID-19 is severe, brain fog, memory loss, stroke, delirium, or coma are frequently present. Initial brain scans on COVID-19 patients in October 2020 revealed concerning indications of neurological disruption and disability.
Even modest COVID-19 can have an impact on the brain, according to further studies, though it is still unclear how long these changes can continue or how they compare to people who have severe COVID-19.
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