How Covid-19 affects the brain

This coronavirus can impact and ravage organs throughout the body. As a neurosurgeon, I have a particular interest in how the virus impacts the brain. Among the most common neurological symptoms are loss of smell and taste, which can also be the first clues that someone has Covid-19.

These symptoms may occur simply because Covid-19 is a respiratory infection, so virus particles enter through the nose and the mouth. If the virus damages nerves in that area, a person can lose their sense of smell. If the virus also directly invades taste buds, it can prevent nerve fibers from transmitting signals to the brain and cause a person to lose their sense of taste. But that’s just one theory. Another theory suggests that the virus binds to protein receptors known as ACE2 in sensory nerve cells and block these cells from allowing us to smell and taste.

ACE2 also helps regulate blood pressure and protects the heart and brain from damage, which may be related to the clotting and strokes we are seeing among some Covid-19 patients as well.

There is still a lot of work to be done to understand the why of coronavirus’ impact on our neurological system, but we do know that obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure are risk factors for this coronavirus. And that’s why regular exercise, healthy diet, proper sleep and reducing stress are still important during this pandemic. They’re not only good for your overall health, but they can help improve your odds for a faster and better recovery.

Source: CNN Health

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