Home / Science / Health /  Severe COVID may cause your brain to age faster, study explains why

Three years have passed since we first came to know about COVID-19 and even now, much is unknown about this deadly virus. A new study has revealed that in case, you suffered from severe COVID infection, there is a high chance that your brain is aging faster than usual. 

The study, which has been published in  Nature Aging, points out that gene activity inside the brain is more extensive in people who had severe COVID infections than in uninfected people who had been in an intensive care unit or had been put on ventilators to assist their breathing.

The study is led by Maria Mavrikaki, a neurobiologist at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts, who started it after another research paper spoke about a cognitive decline after COVID-19.

For the study, the team studied the samples taken from the frontal cortex of 21 people who had severe COVID infection and one asymptomatic COVID infection at death. They then compared the samples with 9 people who never had COVID but spent time on a ventilator or in an ICU

They found that genes associated with inflammation and stress were more active in the brains of people who had had severe COVID-19 than in the brains of people who never had COVID. 

Why do brain cells age faster for those who had severe COVID? 

Mavrikaki and her team are of the opinion COVID-19’s effects on gene activity are caused indirectly, by inflammation, rather than by viral infiltration of the brain. 

But it’s possible that this response might also be triggered by other infections, they add

Neuropathologist Marianna Bugiani at Amsterdam University Medical Centers, who led the study, said, “It opens a plethora of questions that are important, not only for understanding the disease, but to prepare society for what the consequences of the pandemic might be. And these consequences might not be clear for years."

Bugiani further raised another question though the study showed severe COVID infection causes the brain to age faster, it is yet to be understood if mild infections can also affect your brain in a similar manner. 

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