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New research suggests COVID-19 alters the amount of gray matter in the brain.

Pointing to the brain x-ray

Covid-19 patients who received either oxygen or fever therapy showed reduced gray matter content in the frontal and temporal brain networks, according to a new study led by researchers at Georgia State University and the Georgia Institute. of Technology

The study found that reduced gray matter content in this brain region was associated with higher levels of disability in Covid-1

9 patients even six months after hospital discharge.

Gray matter is important for information processing in the brain, and how gray matter disorders can affect neuron function and communication. The study, published in the May 2021 issue, Neurobiology of Stress Indicates that the gray matter in the frontal network may represent the core region for brain involvement in COVID-19, even beyond the damage associated with clinical manifestations of disease such as stroke.

Researchers, in partnership with the Center for Translation Research in Neurobiology and Data Science (TReNDS), analyzed computed tomography scans in 120 neurological patients, including 58 with acute COVID-19 and 62 without it. This work was done in collaboration with Enrico Premi and his colleagues at the University of Brescia in Italy, who provided information for the study. They used source-based morphometry, which enhances statistical power for studies with medium sample sizes.

Kuaikuai Duan and Vince Calhoun

Researchers Kuaikuai Duan and Vince Calhoun found that neurological complications in Covid-19 patients may be linked to decreased gray matter content in the anterior region of the brain even six months after hospital discharge.Credits: Vince. Calhoun, Georgia Tech

“Science has shown that brain structures influence their function, and that abnormal brain images have become a key feature of COVID-19,” said Kuaikuai Duan, first author of the study, a graduate research assistant. According to TReNDS and Ph.D. students in Georgia Tech’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, “Previous studies have examined how the brain is affected by Covid-19 using a non-invariant approach, but we were the first. Using a data-driven multivariate approach to link these changes with Covid-19 characteristics (such as fever and hypoxia) and outcomes (disability levels). ”

The analysis showed that patients with higher levels of disability had lower gray matter content in the upper, middle, and medial frontal gyre upon release, and six months later, even when controlled. Cerebrovascular accident The gray matter content in this region was significantly lower in oxygen-treated patients compared to non-oxygen-treated patients. Patients with fever had significantly lower gray matter content in the lower and medial temporal gyri and fusiform gyrus compared to patients without fever. The findings suggest that Covid-19 may affect the frontal and temporal networks through fever or hypoxia.

Decreased gray matter in the upper, middle and medial forehead gyri was also seen in restless patients compared to patients without restless symptoms. This means that gray matter changes in the anterior region of the brain can be the cause of the emotional disturbances often expressed by Covid-19 patients.

“Neurological complications have been recorded more and more for COVID-19 patients,” said Vince Calhoun, senior author of the study and director of TReNDS. Calhoun is a professor of psychology at D.C. University. “The reduction of gray matter has also been shown to exist in the context of the Georgia State University mentorship and appointment in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech and Neuroscience and Psychiatry at Emory University.” Other emotional disorders, such as schizophrenia, and is likely to be associated with gray matter affecting neuron function. “

The results of the study demonstrating changes in the frontal-temporal network can be used as a biomarker to determine a possible prognosis of Covid-19 or to assess treatment options for the disease. The researchers then hope to replicate the study at a larger sample size that includes multiple brain scans and different populations of Covid-19 patients.

Reference: “Changes in frontal and frontal gray matter content are also relevant to clinical measures of the elderly. COVID-19By Kuaikuai Duan, Enrico Premi, Andrea Pilotto, Viviana Cristillo, Alberto Benussi, Ilenia Libri, Marcello Giunta, H. Jeremy Bockholt, Jingyu Liu, Riccardo Campora, Alessandro Pezzini, Roberto Gasparotti, Mauro Magoni, Alessandro Padovani, and Vince D. Day. April 13, 2021 Neurobiology of Stress.
DOI: 10.1016 / j.ynstr.2021.100326

TReNDS is a collaboration between Georgia State, Georgia Tech and Emory University and focuses on improving our understanding of the human brain using advanced analytical methods. The center uses big data sharing and multi-modalization techniques that include deep learning, genomics, brain mapping, and artificial intelligence.

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