Saturday, June 26, 2021

Brain Imaging Before and After Covid

Brain Imaging Before and After Covid in UK Biobank. I am familiar with privacy and abuse issues with the government holding a great store of medical information about its residents. Worth discussing another day.   But this is the upside.  Brain imaging had been done on many, many people in the UK before Covid was even heard of. After Covid has circulated and a lot of folks have had it, you can track down those who have previously had imaging and scan 'em again to look for changes. It eliminates a possible complication: Unlike in post hoc disease studies, the availability of pre-infection imaging data helps avoid the danger of pre-existing risk factors or clinical conditions being mis-interpreted as disease effects.  

I have mentioned my concern about the long-term neurological effects of Covid.  When people lose their sense of smell or sense of taste it strongly suggests neurological involvement.  When a person arrived at my hospital with olfactory hallucinations, ordering a neuro consult was routine. Therefore I was interested in the following part of their conclusions.

Our findings thus consistently relate to loss of grey matter in limbic cortical areas directly linked to the primary olfactory and gustatory system.

We might hope that these diminish or even disappear over time.  But it is something to be aware of. 

Thanks to regular reader Thos. for passing this along.


james said...

That's very interesting. It's curious that they didn't see significant effects elsewhere. I wonder why that would be. The font of all knowledge claims that problems in the orbitofrontal cortex are associated with some psychiatric disorders, but I haven't yet heard of anything like that among the Covid after-effects.

Or are some of these changes within normal range of variability?

james said...

BTW, you might want to change the post's title.

Cranberry said...

I've been worrying about the increased health problems in Covid survivors showing up in this large study of VHA patients:

Multiple organs are affected. Of course there are pulmonary issues, and cardiovascular issues, but there are also brain-centered problems:

Our results also showed an excess burden of sleep–wake disorders (14.53 (11.53–17.36), anxiety and fear-related disorders (5.42 (3.42–7.29)), and trauma- and stress-related disorders (8.93 (6.62–11.09)). These findings were coupled with evidence of excess burden of incident use of non-opioid (19.97 (17.41–22.40)) and opioid (9.39 (7.21–11.43)) analgesic drugs, antidepressant agents (7.83 (5.19–10.30)), and benzodiazepine, sedative and anxiolytic agents (22.23 (20.68–23.67)).

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I kept wanting to look at those numbers and go "Oh, that's not good, but not really that high," but I eventually had to say "Those numbers are pretty high."

Sam L. said...

I have not had my brain scanned, or imaged, but I know it's "up there" bouncing around. Not "feeling groovy", though. I don't do that. I'm old, but not cranky, and don't have a lawn to tell anyone to "GET OFF IT".

Thos. said...

Another report on this: