A new study suggests that people who had mild cases of COVID-19 and are experiencing long COVID symptoms such as anxiety and depression months after infection may have changes in the function and structure of their brain.
The research involved 254 people who had mild cases of COVID-19 and had developed symptoms of anxiety and depression. The study found that this group of people had shrinkage in the limbic area of the brain, which plays a role in memory and emotional processing, while the group without COVID-19 and the group that had COVID-19 without anxiety and depression showed no brain shrinkage.
The study also found that the group with both symptoms of anxiety and depression had widespread functional changes in how the brain communicates between areas of the brain.
The research suggests that these changes could lead to problems with memory and thinking skills, even in people with mild cases of COVID-19.
Lead author of the study, Dr. Clarissa Yasuda, says that the findings are concerning and highlights the need for further research to identify treatments to prevent any long-term effects on people's quality of life.
"The magnitude of these changes suggests that they could lead to problems with memory and thinking skills, so we need to be exploring holistic treatments even for people mildly affected by COVID-19." said Dr. Yasuda
The study was supported by the São Paulo Research Foundation and will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 75th Annual Meeting being held in person in Boston and live online from April 22-27, 2023.
As more research is needed to better understand the impact of long COVID on people's brain health, what are your thoughts on these findings? Do you or someone you know experience long COVID symptoms? Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments below.
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