611 W. Union Street
Benson, AZ 85602
(520) 586-0800

LaFrontera
member support line
1-520-279-5737
M-F 5pm-8pm
24/7 weekends/holidays

AzCH Nurse Assist Line
1-866-495-6735

NAZCARE Warm Line
1-888-404-5530



SEABHS
611 W. Union Street
Benson, AZ 85602
(520) 586-0800

AzCH Nurse Assist Line
1-866-495-6735

NAZCARE Warm Line
1-888-404-5530


powered by centersite dot net
Medical Disorders
Resources
Basic InformationLookupsLatest News
Global Warming Could Make Survival in Tropics Impossible: StudyObesity a Big Risk Factor for Severe COVID-19, Study ConfirmsWildfire Smoke Is Especially Toxic to Lungs, Study ShowsNo Sense of Smell After COVID? Therapies Can Help Bring It BackPandemic Stress Has More Americans Grinding Their TeethHad Sinus Surgery? Better Skip Nasal Swab COVID TestEven 1 Dose of Pfizer, AstraZeneca COVID Vaccines Offer Good Protection for People Over 80Could a Drug Prevent Type 1 Diabetes in Those at Risk?CDC Issues New Guidelines for Vaccinated AmericansAHA News: COVID-19 Mental Health Crisis Is Hitting Young AdultsHow Moving the Homeless to Hotels During the Pandemic Helps EveryoneA Vaccine Against UTIs? New Mouse Study Brings Shot CloserOpioid Use (and Overuse) for Knee Arthritis Takes Big Financial TollFormaldehyde in Hair Straighteners Prompts FDA WarningIt's Too Soon to Lift COVID Restrictions: FauciWith 3 COVID Vaccines Approved, Is There a 'Best' Shot?U.S. Hispanics at High Stroke Risk and Many Go Untreated: ReportCOVID Leaves Most Pro Athletes With No Lasting Heart Damage: StudyAmerican Indians Face the Highest Odds for StrokePerils of the Pandemic: Scooters, Cleansers and Button BatteriesModerna COVID Vaccine Can Sometimes Trigger Delayed Skin ReactionsMore Data Suggests New Coronavirus Variants Weaken Vaccines, TreatmentsAdd Sleep Woes to Long-Term Effects of ConcussionsCOVID Death Rates 10 Times Higher in Countries Where Most Are Overweight: ReportCould Taking a Swing at Golf Help Parkinson's Patients?Scientists Discover Why Blood Type May Matter for COVID InfectionNew Coronavirus Variant Out of Brazil Now in 5 U.S. StatesScientists Gain Insight Into Genetics of GlaucomaPatients With Sickle Cell Disease Often Overlooked for Life-Saving Kidney TransplantsDoes an Arthritis Drug Help Patients Battling Severe COVID? It Depends on the StudyNIH Halts Trial of Convalescent Plasma for Mild COVID-19COVID Vaccines for All American Adults by the End of May: BidenWhat You Need to Know About the New J&J COVID VaccineHow Climate Change Could Put More MS Patients in DangerFace Masks Won't Impede Your Breathing, Study ConfirmsSports Position Doesn't Affect Risk of Concussion-Linked CTE IllnessStrep Throat Doesn't Worsen Tourette But May Affect ADHD: StudyFauci Says U.S. Will Stay With Two Doses of Pfizer, Moderna VaccinesAHA News: Finally Getting Around to That Annual Physical? Here's What You Might FindStem Cell Injections Show Early Promise Against Spinal Cord InjuriesStudy Debunks Notion That Statin Meds Trigger Muscle AchesMore Than 87,000 Scientific Papers Already Published on COVID-19Underarm Lump After COVID Shot Is Likely Lymph Swelling, Not Breast Cancer, Experts SayVaccinating Oldest First for COVID Saves the Most Lives: StudyIf Protections Expire, COVID Patients Could Soon Face Big Medical BillsSharp Drop Seen in COVID Testing As New Cases PlateauFDA Approves Third COVID VaccineSpring Allergies Are Near, Here's What Works to Fight ThemRheumatoid Arthritis Meds May Help Fight Severe COVID-19Hair Salon Talk Can Spread COVID, But Face Shields Cut the Danger
Questions and AnswersLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Cancer
Men's Health
Women's Health

Autopsy Study May Explain Why Some COVID Survivors Have 'Brain Fog'

HealthDay News
by By Alan Mozes HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Feb 17th 2021

new article illustration

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 17, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- One of the least understood effects of COVID-19 infection is "brain fog," a kind of mental confusion that can take hold among seriously ill patients, sometimes lingering long after recovery.

Now, a new study has spotted a possible neurological clue in the form of highly unusual cell clusters in the brains of people who had COVID-19.

"What we're talking about is a situation where patients feel fuzzy and foggy in their thoughts," said study lead author Dr. David Nauen.

"It's when you're extremely tired and sluggish, and your mental activity just doesn't seem to be working as crisply and sharply as usual. And it's been reported among COVID-19 patients still under care and afterwards, during the long recovery phase," he explained.

"We thought it must be due to something affecting the brain, because we know other viruses can certainly affect the brain, sometimes with severe neurologic consequences," said Nauen, who's an assistant professor in the department of pathology at Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore.

So Nauen and his colleagues set out to analyze the brains of COVID-19 patients who had succumbed to their illness.

Between April and May of 2020, autopsies were performed on the brains of 15 randomly selected COVID-19 patients, as well as on two patients who had not been infected.

The first surprise? "There was none of the classic signs of viral disease of the brain, like inflammation and lymphocytes [white blood cells]," Nauen said.

The second surprise? "Instead, we saw unusual cells in the capillaries, called megakaryocytes, that I had never seen in the brain," he noted.

A megakaryocyte "is a cell that normally lives in the bone marrow, where we make red and other blood cells. It makes the platelets that help us clot, in order to heal," Nauen said. "But it's really, really unusual to see them in the capillaries of the brain, because capillaries are like fine little tubes bringing oxygen throughout the brain. So finding megakaryocytes in these tubes is like finding a football stuffed into a really small pipe in your house. Nothing is going to go through."

In the end, the study team found megakaryocytes in the brains of one-third of the deceased COVID-19 patients.

The findings were published online Feb. 12 in JAMA Neurology.

So do megakaryocyte brain formations explain COVID-19 brain fog? Nauen stressed that it's premature to characterize the finding as proof of cause and effect.

"Knowing they're there is the first step. Now we need to figure out why they're in the brain, and what's signaling them to come to the brain by mistake, whether this very different kind of inflammation that we've never seen before is responsible for brain fog and may also be contributing to a heightened risk for stroke," he noted.

"None of these patients had had strokes. And I'm speculating. But you can imagine that if you start to clot off, or block off, this very intricate network of carefully regulated capillaries, then your blood pressure is going to change, get higher, and perhaps raise the risk for stroke," Nauen said.

Meanwhile, Dr. Larry Goldstein, chairman of the department of neurology at the University of Kentucky and co-director of the Kentucky Neuroscience Institute, offered a cautious take on Nauen's findings.

"'Brain fog' is not a specific condition and has no defining diagnostic criteria," Goldstein said.

Brain fog is also "not specific to COVID, and can occur in association with a variety of inflammatory conditions, degenerative diseases, medications -- particularly some cancer chemotherapies -- and intensive care unit hospitalizations, among others," he added.

Still, in the case of COVID-19, could megakaryocytes be the cause? Goldstein acknowledged that the explanation is "plausible." But so are a wide array of other explanations, including inflammation, reduced blood oxygen, stroke, reduced blood flow and/or "the general complications of hospitalization for an acute, life-threatening illness," he said.

So, absent brain scans or detailed reports on each patient's "cognitive status," it's impossible to know, Goldstein stressed. That means, for now, all that can be said is that "there are a variety of ways brain injury could occur in this setting."

More information

There's more on COVID-19 brain fog at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

SOURCES: David Nauen, MD, PhD, assistant professor, department of pathology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore; Larry Goldstein, MD, chairman, department of neurology, and co-director, Kentucky Neuroscience Institute, University of Kentucky, Lexington; JAMA Neurology, Feb. 12, 2021, online