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Recent:   

Brain temperature and free water increases after mild COVID-19 infection

Sharma et al., Scientific Reports, doi:10.1038/s41598-024-57561-6
Mar 2024  
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Analysis of 10 patients with brain imaging before and after mild COVID-19 suggesting that the primary route for SARS-CoV-2 entry into the central nervous system (CNS) is via the olfactory nerve in the nasal cavity, a pathway known as the transcribiform route. The findings showed that participants with chronic olfactory dysfunction had the most pronounced brain temperature increases in the primary olfactory cortex, indicating a potential link between viral entry through the olfactory pathway and persistent neurological symptoms. Authors hypothesize that SARS-CoV-2 could infect the olfactory epithelium and travel along the olfactory nerves, crossing the cribriform plate and entering the brain, leading to neuroinflammation and other neurological complications.
Sharma et al., 28 Mar 2024, USA, peer-reviewed, mean age 27.4, 4 authors, study period May 2021 - March 2023. Contact: ayushe.sharma@yale.edu, jszaflarski@uabmc.edu.
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Brain temperature and free water increases after mild COVID-19 infection
Ayushe A Sharma, Rodolphe Nenert, Adam M Goodman, Jerzy P Szaflarski
Scientific Reports, doi:10.1038/s41598-024-57561-6
The pathophysiology underlying the post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 remains understudied and poorly understood, particularly in healthy adults with a history of mild infection. Chronic neuroinflammation may underlie these enduring symptoms, but studying neuroinflammatory phenomena in vivo is challenging, especially without a comparable pre-COVID-19 dataset. In this study, we present a unique dataset of 10 otherwise healthy individuals scanned before and after experiencing mild COVID-19. Two emerging MR-based methods were used to map pre-to post-COVID-19 brain temperature and free water changes. Post-COVID-19 brain temperature and free water increases, which are indirect biomarkers of neuroinflammation, were found in structures functionally associated with olfactory, cognitive, and memory processing. The largest pre-to post-COVID brain temperature increase was observed in the left olfactory tubercle (p = 0.007, 95% CI [0.48, 3.01]), with a mean increase of 1.75 °C. Notably, the olfactory tubercle is also the region of the primary olfactory cortex where participants with chronic olfactory dysfunction showed the most pronounced increases as compared to those without lingering olfactory dysfunction (adjusted p FDR = 0.0189, 95% CI [1.42, 5.27]). These preliminary insights suggest a potential link between neuroinflammation and chronic cognitive and olfactory dysfunction following mild COVID-19, although further investigations are needed to improve our understanding of what underlies these phenomena.
Ethical statement The authors confirm that they have read the Journal's position on ethical publication, and that all study procedures and this report are consistent with those guidelines. Author contributions All author listed made substantial, direct, and intellectual contributions to this work. Conceptualization: JPS and AAS. Data acquisition: AAS and RN. Data processing: AAS, RN, and AG. Formal analysis: AAS. Data curation: AAS. Data visualization: AAS. Writing-original draft preparation: AAS. Writing-review and editing: JPS, AAS, RN, and AG. Project supervision: JPS. Funding acquisition: JPS. Competing interests The authors declare no competing interests.
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