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Long Covid: Disturbed blood supply to the brain probably the reason for clouding of consciousness

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Long Covid: Disturbed blood supply to the brain probably the reason for clouding of consciousness

Doctors have found a physical cause for the so-called brain fog in Long Covid patients. Accordingly, the viral infection triggers a disruption of the blood supply system in the brain. The clouding of consciousness that occurs as a result makes it more difficult for those who have recovered to plan, remember or concentrate.

The research group led by Matthew Campbell from Trinity College Dublin and Colin Doherty from St. James’s Hospital in Dublin showed that the blood vessels of patients became more permeable after a corona infection and were less able to protect the brain from pathogens, toxins and other substances in the blood. The researchers published their findings in the specialist magazine Nature Neuroscience.

Blood-brain barrier disrupted

“For the first time, we have shown that leaky blood vessels in the human brain, along with a hyperactive immune system, may be the main cause of brain fog associated with Long Covid,” Campbell said. He and his colleagues had already started analyzing blood samples from 76 Covid patients at St. James’s Hospital in the initial phase of the corona pandemic in March and April 2020 brain fog to investigate known forms of clouding of consciousness. They found increased levels of the protein S100-beta, which is, among other things, a marker for a disturbed blood-brain barrier.

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The boundary between the bloodstream and the central nervous system is called the blood-brain barrier. Thanks to special cells that lie on the outside of the vessel wall, only certain substances can pass into the brain. This protects the brain from harmful substances and pathogens. When the blood-brain barrier is disrupted, substances enter the brain that would otherwise be shielded. The researchers have not yet been able to elucidate the exact mechanism of the weakening of this system.

Exhaustion and dizziness

Campbell, Doherty and colleagues are convinced that Corona is not the only viral infection that damages the brain in this way. “The results are now likely to change the way we understand and treat post-viral neurological diseases,” said Doherty. In recent years it has been shown that in many neurological diseases – such as multiple sclerosis (MS) – a viral infection is probably the triggering factor for the disease, according to a statement from Trinity College. The study authors are currently examining in more detail what role the blood-brain barrier plays in this.

A corona infection can result in persistent health problems, for which the term Long Covid has become established. Symptoms include exhaustion, dizziness and problems concentrating.

Doctors have found a physical cause for the so-called brain fog in Long Covid patients. Accordingly, the viral infection triggers a disruption of the blood supply system in the brain. The clouding of consciousness that occurs as a result makes it more difficult for those who have recovered to plan, remember or concentrate.

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The research group led by Matthew Campbell from Trinity College Dublin and Colin Doherty from St. James’s Hospital in Dublin showed that the blood vessels of patients became more permeable after a corona infection and were less able to protect the brain from pathogens, toxins and other substances in the blood. The researchers published their findings in the specialist magazine Nature Neuroscience.

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