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COVID Health

Can a Mild Case of COVID Lead to Brain Damage?

One of the silver linings of the rise of the omicron COVID variant is that those infected with omicron seem to experience a milder form of the disease. Yet, doctors and medical researchers remind us that even a mild case of COVID often can result in some long-term side effects. Now, new research suggests brain damage could be one of those “long-haul” symptoms of even a minor case of COVID. 

A new study from Yale University researchers looked into how mice reacted to a COVID-19 infection and what happened to their brains.

  • In mild infections, there was “some significant damage in the cells of the brain,” Dr. Akiko Iwasaki, an immunologist with the Yale School of Medicine, told NBC Connecticut.
  • “This means that even a mild respiratory infection could lead to neurological symptoms; that’s based on the damage that we see,” he said.

As far back as October 2020, experts began to express worry over the COVID-19 symptom called “brain fog” when COVID-19 survivors started to complain of headaches and memory loss after infection. Iwasaki said the hope is for researchers to learn more about how long COVID-19 symptoms start and why people will suffer long-term brain damage from a mild infection.

For years now, researchers have been analyzing the link between COVID-19 and the disease’s effects on the brain.

  • One study published in the medical journal JAMA Network Open in October 2021 found that memory loss and brain fog are common symptoms of COVID so-called “long haulers.”.
  • A separate study — published in the medical journal Lancet Psychiatry in April 2021 — found that about one-quarter of COVID-19 survivors were diagnosed with neurological or psychological conditions within six months of their original COVID-19 infections.

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