Long COVID is marked by neurological symptoms such as memory loss, sensory confusion, severe headaches, and even stroke in up to 30 percent of cases, which can persist for months after the infection is over.
While there is evidence that the virus can enter the brain of infected people, the precise mechanisms causing these neurological symptoms are unknown.
In a study from La Trobe University, scientists may have uncovered the cause of the neurological conditions seen in patients with long COVID, such as brain fog.
The study provides the first indications that some of the neurological symptoms in long-COVID are caused by amyloid clumps appearing in the brain that are similar to those that cause Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia.
The research reveals similarities between the effects of COVID-19 and the early stages of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
In the study, the researchers examined if similar amyloid clumps could be formed from fragments of protein from SARS-CoV-2.
Finding two such protein fragments that readily form amyloids, called ORF6 and ORF10, and that these are highly toxic to brain cells grown in a lab.
They say the findings of aggregates of SARS-Cov-2 proteins in people with long COVID may explain the condition known as “brain fog.”
These toxic clumps of protein, or amyloid assemblies, appear to be similar to those found in Alzheimer’s disease and may be responsible for some of the neurological symptoms of long-COVID.
The team suggests that aggregates of SARS-CoV-2 proteins may trigger neurological symptoms in COVID-19 that many call brain fog.
If further studies confirm that amyloid clumps are contributing to long-COVID, then drugs that have been developed to combat Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s may be repurposed to treat these debilitating neurological symptoms.
If you care about COVID, please read studies about how vitamin B may help fight COVID-19, and this face mask can capture and deactivate COVID-19 virus.
For more information about COVID, please see recent studies that new antiviral drug may block COVID-19 transmission, and results showing when you should get the new COVID-19 booster and the flu shot.
The study was conducted by Dr. Nick Reynolds et al and published in Nature Communications.
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