A new study has found that Covid infection could do more harm to an older person’s brain than Alzheimer’s.
Researchers from New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine discovered that Covid survivors could be suffering from toxic metabolic syndrome (TME) after completing research.
According to the researchers, people with Covid infections showed more signs of brain damage that people with Alzheimer’s.
TME-infected patients scored 60 percent higher in screenings for brain damage detection.
Although the study was completed during the first pandemic wave, it is unclear if this data can also be used for the Omicron- and Delta variations. The possibility of Covid spreading so fast and having such severe side effects is worrying.
NYU researchers discovered that Covid-infected elderly patients had more brain damage than average Alzheimer’s patients.
Covid patients who exhibited signs of brain damage often developed a condition called toxic metabolic encephalopathy which causes inflammation of the brain and prevents the body from undergoing some basic metabolic functions
According to Study Findings, Dr Jennifer Frontera (lead author and NYU Grossman professor), “Our results suggest that COVID-19 patients, especially those suffering neurological symptoms from their acute infection,” has brain injury markers levels that may be as high or higher in these individuals than those with Alzheimer’s disease.”
TME can be caused by infection with a virus or even surgery.
When cells become toxic, it causes the body to stop performing basic functions. This can lead to severe inflammation in the brain, which could cause cognitive problems.
Researchers, who published their findings last week in Alzheimer’s & Dementia, found that the condition was prevalent in many research participants who had been infected with Covid.
This team collected data from 251 people aged over 65 who received Covid in their hospital beds during the initial wave of Covid pandemics that hit spring 2020. It was a mix of people who were cured and those who died.
No one of the recruits had any previous dementia-related history.
The Covid symptoms they reported during the Covid episode were what separated them into two different groups.
Participants recruited were compared to patients from NYU’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. 56 of the 161 participants in control had a diagnosis for Alzheimer’s, while 54 have mild cognitive impairment.
Covid was not found in any members of either the control or experimental groups at the time the study took place.
Three blood markers were identified by researchers who analysed blood samples from brain-damaged patients.
The leading cause of brain injury in the infected was TME, which they found to be 60 percent more common than those with neurological symptoms.
Covid-related deaths were characterized by an average of 124 percent more blood markers that indicate brain damage.
The long-term implications of these findings are not known by researchers. Researchers have not found a link between the markers and Alzheimer’s disease, but they do fear that the cognitive health of those affected could be compromised in the future.
Dr Thomas Wisniewski at NYU, who is the director of Center for Cognitive Neurology and was a major author of this study, stated that “Traumatic Brain Injury” does not cause a person to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
We need to urgently answer the question of whether this kind of relationship is present in patients who have survived severe COVID-19.