What can covid do to the human mind?

In a new study Published in Molecular Psychiatry, Researchers from Sweden and a Harvard-affiliated hospital in Boston tried to find out by creating a “brain organoid,” or a tiny head the size of a pin, that they clothed in Covid.

What they saw revealed a lot: “Excessive numbers of synapses,” or the connections that allow brain cells to communicate, were removed during the disease—”more than you’d expect to see in a normal brain,” the authors wrote. On October 27 An article on an academic news site The conversation.

In a process known as “pruning,” normal brains remove a certain amount of inactive synapses when they are no longer needed to make way for new ones. But the infected mini-brains showed unnecessary and excessive levels of the clearing process, similar to those seen in neurological disorders such as schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

What researchers have observed may explain why. Long covid patients Report neurological symptoms and why COVID increases the risk of certain neurological diseases.

it is. Well established Those who have had Covid are at a higher risk of complications such as stroke, memory loss, depression, anxiety and migraines. More than a third of those who have had Covid have reported neurological symptoms February text in Medical advances in chronic disease.

And some chronic Covid patients are known to experience neurological symptoms such as tremors, movement disorders, involuntary muscle contractions, seizures, hearing and vision problems, balance and coordination problems, and other Parkinson’s disease-like symptoms. The most frequent neurological symptoms of chronic covid include “brain fog,” headaches, confusion, sleep disturbances, mood disorders, problems with smell or taste, and dysautonomiaAn autonomic nervous system disorder that includes fainting, hypotension on standing, rapid heart rate, and other involuntary body functions.

The authors of the new study warn that the mini-heads they created are so small that they may resemble the brain of a fetus rather than an adult. Still, some studies of people who have died from Covid, in addition to imaging survivors, have seen neuronal death and a reduction in the thickness of gray matter in the brain, signs of synapse loss, for example.

About 20% US adults with Covid-19Approximately 50 millionAccording to data collected this summer by the U.S. Census Bureau, long-term reports of Covid-19 symptoms persist after the infection resolves.

Prolonged covid is defined as symptoms that persist or appear long after the initial covid infection has passed, but consensus is not yet widely accepted.

Many experts say prolonged covid is best described as a chronic fatigue-syndrome-like condition that occurs after a covid illness, as can other post-viral illnesses, such as herpes, lyme disease and ebola. Other problems after covid They say post-care syndrome should not be defined as prolonged COVID.

This story is featured in the beginning Fortune.com

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