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Covid-19: brain damage, a possible link with Alzheimer’s disease?

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The symptoms of Covid-19 are not limited to the respiratory organs. The virus can also cause certain neurological signs. Brain fog, confusion, loss of consciousness, all signs reported by some patients with severe form of the disease.

So far, science has yet to find a correlation between signs of brain damage developed in older people who have contracted the virus and those with Alzheimer’s disease. But some studies go in this direction, such as research revealed by National Geographic (source 1) and relayed by our colleagues from La Dépêche.

Indeed, patients suffering from a long Covid have reported cognitive symptoms almost identical to those of people with Alzheimer’s disease. This neurodegenerative disease is linked to the accumulation of two proteins in the brain. However, a new hypothesis emerges. Its appearance could also be the consequence of a viral, bacterial or even fungal infection. This infection could then trigger a series of events leading to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

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A sign of brain damage

A theory that was beginning to “cause renewed attention even before the pandemic“As Sean Naughton, a neuroscientist and toxicologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai explains: “The Covid-19 situation has reignited a lot of that interest.”

In its columns, National Geographic was also interested in another scientific study concerning patients with a severe form of Covid-19. Some had cognitive symptoms but no history of dementia. These patients showed high protein levels in their blood, the sign of brain damage. “Some of the proteins are commonly seen in the blood when patients suffer neuronal damage from strokes or lack of oxygen, but others, such as phosphorylated tau-181 (ptau), are thought to be susceptible to be specific to Alzheimer’s disease,” the study authors reported.

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