RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brain volume in olfactory-related regions dropped by an average of 0.7% compared to a matched control group who had not had Covid, a recent study by Oxford University (OU) has identified.
Normally, just 0.2% volume is lost in that region in a year by a middle-aged person – the findings imply the decline took place faster in people who were previously infected with Covid.
A scientist from OU said the findings might “help to explain why some people experience brain symptoms long after the acute infection” but added they cannot prove any link between the virus and brain loss as yet.
Writing in the journal Nature, the authors said: “Our longitudinal analyses revealed a significant, deleterious impact associated with Covid-19.
“Significantly greater cognitive decline, which persisted even after excluding the hospitalized patients, was seen in the Covid-19 positive group between the two time points.
“Whether this deleterious impact can be partially reversed, or whether these effects will persist in the long term, remains to be investigated with additional follow-up.”
The experts say they are not yet aware of any link between the virus and brain loss, as they cannot prove a causal effect from the purely observational study.