You may know someone who, after passing through COVID-19, forget certain things, get a headache, or haven’t fully regained your sense of smell yet, These symptoms include within the occurrence brain fog In which a part of the population has been hit by the epidemic. If it persists over time, its effects can be harmful.
nervous system sufferers
Although infection with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus Mainly affects the respiratory systemMost patients suffering from COVID-19 show neurological symptoms as a loss Loss of smell, headache, sleep disorders and memory loss.
On the other hand, several studies indicate that patients with neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease are more Suffering from a more serious illness.
Taken together, these signs are a clear indicator that the virus is affecting the nervous system as well. It is therefore more important to study what the long-term effects and consequences of this disease may be in the brain.
Trojan Horse and Nervous Highway
But how does SARS-CoV-2 reach the brain? Direct access to this organ is not easy as it is surrounded by a true wall of blood vessels known as the blood-brain barrier. Despite this, SARS-CoV-2 is able to circumvent this protection by various mechanisms.
To start, you can Send signals that cause the blood-brain barrier to modify. In addition, it is able to enter our own cells And use them as a vehicle to sneak into the brain. Tactics is a true Trojan horse, because pathogen is to conceal something recognizable by our body to be able to cross obstacles which would otherwise be inaccessible.
eventually, SARS-CoV-2 can also travel through neurons, which are distributed throughout our body forming a network of nerves. The virus is able to reach a neuronal extension and move through them as if they were a highway that ends in the brain. Right in the nose, the site of virus entry and infection is the olfactory nerve, which may be a direct entry to the brain.
The COVID-19 virus can indirectly affect the brain as well. It occurs when our immune system reacts to the presence of foreign microorganisms by releasing molecules called cytokines. These molecules act as a call signal and trigger an inflammatory response in the tissue where they are located.
This response is, in theory, beneficial, as it manages to attract various army cells that will fight the infection. Even then, If this persists over time, it can lead to a chronic inflammatory condition that can be very dangerous. and compromise the functions of various organs, including the brain.
,In the case of SARS-CoV-2, its ability to induce a generalized inflammatory state in our bodies may facilitate the progression of neurodegenerative diseases.,
In individuals with diseases associated with fine aging, this state of chronic inflammation is prevalent. In particular, Alzheimer’s patients are known to suffer from neuroinflammation. This means that your brain’s immune system is activated continuously and over time, causing damage to structures and more neuronal death and neurodegeneration.
Can COVID-19 Cause Alzheimer’s?
Now, then, what is the link between neurodegenerative processes and COVID-19? The relationship between viral infection and neurodegeneration has long been known, and as might be inferred, the point at which the two pathologies converge is inflammation.
In the case of SARS-CoV-2, its ability to induce a generalized inflammatory state in our bodies may facilitate the progression of neurodegenerative diseases. Furthermore, the cytokine storm that is generated as a rapid defense mechanism is able to control physiological parameters. For example, an imbalance in iron levels increases the number of oxidizing molecules in neurons that worsen the damage. This leads to more neuronal death and more neurodegeneration.
In favor of this theory, some studies suggest that Patients with COVID-19 present neuronal loss in the same areas of the brain as damage in Alzheimer’s disease, In addition, biomarkers of neurodegeneration are increased in many patients hospitalized for COVID-19.
it’s clear that SARS-CoV-2 has a more profound effect on the brains of patients than was initially thought. A better understanding of the interaction of this virus with the central nervous system could prevent the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s worldwide and for some time without treatment.
Juana Andreo López, FPI researcher. Researchers at the Center for Networked Biomedical Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases (CIBERNED) and the Malaga Biomedical Research Institute (IBIMA), University of Malaga, David Bagliato Vargas, Beatriz Galindo Senior Distinguished Researcher. Researchers at the Center for Networked Biomedical Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases (CIBERNED) and the Malaga Biomedical Research Institute (IBIMA), University of Malaga and Miriam Bettinetti Luc, predoctoral researcher at the Center for Network Biomedical Research in Neurodegenerative Disease (CIBERNED) and the Malaga Biomedical Research Institute (IBIMA), University of Malaga. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Here you can read the original.