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Telangana: ‘Severe Covid can hit gray matter volume in the brain’ | Hyderabad News – Times of India


HYDERABAD: Severe Covid-19 can reduce the gray matter volume of the brain, warn city neurologists. While mild to moderate cases do not have impact on the brain, those admitted to hospital and on mechanical ventilation have developed neuro problems, including reduction in the volume of gray matter, which is vital for processing information in the brain.
Neurologists say that the volume of the gray matter in the frontal lobe of the brain is reduced when severe Covid-19 patients are kept on ventilation support to supply oxygen to the body. In patients without supplemental oxygen, there is no change in the volume of the gray matter.

Referring to an international study on how reduction in gray matter causes severe disability post discharge, Dr P Ranganadham, senior consultant neurosurgeon at Sunshine hospitals, Gachibowli, told TOI that gray matter abnormalities will affect the function of neurons and communication.
“Covid-19 is found to have impact on gray matter volume in important brain locations. This reduction is noticed particularly in patients with fever. In patients with no symptoms, the volume is not affected at all,” he said adding that those with neurological complications triggered by Covid-19 should take follow-up medical advice for at least six months.
Dr Ranganadham said in some patients, high levels of disability is noticed at discharge or even at six months after discharge. This is because the frontal lobe of the brain is involved. “As smell and taste are often affected before the Covid-19 turns full bloom, a particular part of the brain called olfactory gyrus gets affected first. Covid-19 patients particularly those recovered after ventilation support should be careful and watch out for post-Covid-19 symptoms if any,” he warned.
According to Dr Varun Reddy Gundluru, consultant neurologist, Yashoda hospitals, Malakpet, Covid-19 infection has gone far from becoming an isolated respiratory infection to a disorder with varied systemic manifestations. Long-term effects are being seen on the brain and other organs.
“Patients, who have been admitted with moderate to severe Covid-19, can continue to have problems in memory, concentrating on tasks given to them, and slowness in their activities. We have seen patients presenting with mood disturbances, hallucinations, and other cognitive issues,” he said adding that this may be be linked to changes in the brain at the level of gray matter volume.
City neurologists point out that one in eight severe Covid-19 cases undergo complications of the brain and the central nervous system, leading to mood swings and anger in the recovered patients. The problem is further complicated in overweight or obese patients. In some cases, reduction in gray matter can cause temporary disability..

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