New study finds that COVID-19 can damage brain cells, impairing cognitive function

A technician looks at a computer screen showing a brain scan.
Medical imaging service in a hospital in Savoie, France. A technician monitors a brain MRI scan session. BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
  • A new study has found that COVID-19 can damage specific brain cells known as endothelial cells.
  • It may be an explanation for the 84% of COVID-19 patients who report neurological symptoms.
  • There’s hope that the damage may be reversible.

A new study has found that COVID-19 can cause damage to blood vessels in the brain, damaging cognitive function.

The study, conducted by scientists from Germany, France, and Spain, reveals that COVID-19 can kill brain cells known as endothelial cells.

Studies have previously found that up to 84% of COVID-19 patients suffer from neurological symptoms, anosmia (loss of sense of taste or smell), epileptic seizures, strokes, loss of consciousness, and confusion, and this may be an explanation as to why.

Insider’s Yelena Dzhanova previously covered how patients of COVID-19 suffer memory loss, even months after contracting the virus.

The study was conducted by scanning the brains of corpses who had died from COVID-19.

The results of the research showed string vessels, a dead cell that cannot allow blood to flow, and is a sign of cognitive impairment, and has a number of medical risks, including micro strokes.

There is hope, however, that this new facet of COVID-19 may be reversible.

“We have seen that in hamsters, who develop very minor forms of Covid-19, the phenomenon is apparently reversible, so we can hope that it could also be reversible in humans,” a co-author of the paper, Vincent Prévot, from the Inserm research center in Lille, told RFI news.

COVID-19 is still a new virus, with a lot more information still being uncovered about it.