"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

COVID may cause persistent brain injuries that will not be detected on routine tests

December 29, 2023 — While COVID-19 is primarily a respiratory disease, scientists have known for years that it will possibly also cause problems in other parts of the body, including the brain. A study from Great Britain now shows that brain damage can occur even months after infection.

Researchers found that some recovering COVID-19 patients still had blood markers indicating ongoing brain injury while appearing healthy on routine blood inflammation tests, a study published within the journal found Nature communication said.

According to a press release from the research team, researchers checked out 800 patients hospitalized with COVID in England and Wales, half of whom had latest neurological conditions. The researchers measured their brain injury markers, serum inflammatory proteins, antibodies and brain injury proteins.

While patients were COVID positive, that they had higher production of inflammatory proteins and blood markers of brain injury with rapid onset of symptoms, the discharge said. Researchers were surprised to search out blood markers that showed persistent brain injury months after study participants were discharged from the hospital, even when tests didn’t detect inflammation. This occurred most frequently in those that had latest neurological diseases within the acute phase.

“Our study shows that markers of brain damage are present in the blood months after COVID-19, particularly in those who have had a brain complication caused by COVID-19 (e.g. inflammation or stroke), even though the inflammatory response has subsided the blood,” lead researcher Benedict Michael, PhD, director of the Infection Neuroscience Laboratory on the University of Liverpool, said within the press release.

“This suggests the possibility of ongoing inflammation and injury in the brain itself, which may not be detected by blood tests for inflammation.”