Tuesday, August 16, 2022
News

Study examines if pandemic-related stress impacts brain health of uninfected people

   SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend    Print this Page   COMMENT

Massachusetts | February 23, 2022 1:51:25 PM IST
Irrespective of whether a person has ever been infected with the SARS-Cov-2 virus or not, one thing is for sure: it affected the mental health of every individual. New research has indicated that for some individuals -- even those who have steered clear of becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2 -- societal and lifestyle disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic may have triggered inflammation in the brain that can affect mental health.

The study, which was conducted by a team led by investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), is published in 'Brain, Behavior, and Immunity'.

Beyond causing a staggering number of infections and deaths, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to significant social and economic disruptions that have impacted the lives of a large swath of the world's population in multiple ways. Also, since the start of the pandemic, the severity and prevalence of symptoms of psychological distress, fatigue, brain fog, and other conditions increased considerably in the United States, including among people not infected with SARS-CoV-2.

To obtain a better understanding of the effects of the pandemic on brain and mental health, researchers analyzed brain imaging data, conducted behavioral tests, and collected blood samples from multiple uninfected volunteers -- 57 before and 15 after lockdown/stay-at-home measures were implemented to limit the pandemic's spread.

After lockdowns, the study participants demonstrated elevated brain levels of two markers of neuroinflammation -- translocator protein (measured using positron emission tomography) and myoinositol (measured using magnetic resonance spectroscopy) -- compared with pre-lockdown participants. Blood levels of two inflammatory markers -- interleukin-16 and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 -- were also elevated in post-lockdown participants, although to a lesser extent.

Participants who reported a higher burden of symptoms related to mood and mental and physical fatigue showed higher levels of translocator protein in certain brain regions, compared with those reporting little or no symptoms. Also, higher post-lockdown translocator protein levels correlated with the expression of several genes involved in immune functions.

"While COVID-19 research has seen an explosion in the literature, the impact of pandemic-related societal and lifestyle disruptions on brain health among the uninfected has remained under-explored," said lead author Ludovica Brusaferri, PhD, a postdoctoral research fellow at MGH and Harvard Medical School. "Our study demonstrates an example of how the pandemic has impacted human health beyond the effects directly caused by the virus itself."

Senior author Marco L. Loggia, PhD, co-director of the Center for Integrative Pain NeuroImaging at MGH and Harvard Medical School noted that acknowledging a role of neuroinflammation in the symptoms experienced by many during the pandemic might point to possible strategies to reduce them. "For instance, behavioral or pharmacological interventions that are thought to reduce inflammation -- such as exercise and certain medications -- might turn out to be helpful as a means of reducing these vexing symptoms."

Loggia added that the findings also provided further support to the notion that stressful events might be accompanied by brain inflammation. "This could have important implication for developing interventions for a broad number of stress-related disorders," he said. (ANI)

 
  LATEST COMMENTS (0)
POST YOUR COMMENT
Comments Not Available
 
POST YOUR COMMENT
 
 
TRENDING TOPICS
 
 
CITY NEWS
MORE CITIES
 
 
 
MORE HEALTH NEWS
Chaotic scenes at Ikea store in Shanghai...
Delhi reports 1,227 fresh Covid cases; 8...
Delhi reports 2,162 fresh Covid cases, 5...
PM likely to announce key health project...
India's Health@75: Lifestyle disease bur...
Study finds Betamethasone may improve pr...
More...
 
INDIA WORLD ASIA
Cattle smuggling scam: Two firms with An...
Indian envoy to Bangladesh pays homage t...
1L jobs, CM housing scheme & RSS founder...
Rahul Gandhi refuses to comment on PM Mo...
People of African origin participate in ...
Domestic help tied, stripped naked in so...
More...    
 
 Top Stories
Vidya Rath- School on Wheels' proje... 
Biden administration slams report c... 
Drugs valued at Rs 4,040cr seized i... 
BJP leaders forecast Nitish will ta... 
Debate on freebies is welcome: Ex-R... 
Ultimate Kho Kho: Mumbai Khiladis, ... 
Bal Aadhaar initiative: Over 79L ch... 
I-Day tragedy: Senior couple killed...