People who had been infected with COVID-19 showed a loss of brain volume even when the disease was not severe enough to require hospitalization, researchers AT Psychological & Brain Sciences at Texas A&M University found. They also concluded that those who had contracted COVID-19 were slower in processing information, relative to those who had not. The brain regions that the U.K. researchers found to be impacted by COVID-19 are all linked to the olfactory bulb, a structure near the front of the brain that passes signals about smells from the nose to other brain regions. Usually, when it comes to brain structure, we typically see a decrease in the size of the brain in adults over age 65.
There is also typically an increase in cerebrospinal fluid that fills space due to the loss of brain tissue. These findings are raising concerns about the long-term impacts that the coronavirus might have on biological processes such as aging. Investigating possible connections between COVID-19-related brain changes and memory is of great interest — particularly given the regions implicated and their importance in memory and Alzheimer’s disease.The research wants to understand the degree to which the brain may recover after illness as well, as COVID-19 could affect the body and brain for months or longer following infection.