Covid-19 has been toiling with the health of people for over a year now! Scientists and researchers all over the world are curious about the ancestry of the virus. A lot of researches and experiments have been done to know more and more about the virus. Keeping in line, a new study claims that Grey matter in the brain gets affected by severe Covid!
Yes, you read that right! The researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology conducted a study on the same. In this research, they found that patients having a fever or some serious Covid symptoms followed by Oxygen treatment show a reduction in the brain’s grey matter!
What is Grey Matter?
Grey matter comprises those neural cells that are concerned with synapses(exchange of information between two cells). There are essentially two visible colors pertaining to the nervous system. They are- white and Grey.
The white region called the white matter has axons or long stem-like cells. The Grey matter has cell body, dendrites, synaptic knobs(axon terminals). Being more crowded than the axons- these appear darker in color. Hence, called Grey matter!
Role of Grey Matter
The Grey matter in the brain has an important role to play in the processing of information. Structures within the grey matter process signals. The sensory organs generate the signals. But, other areas of the grey matter also generate signals. This tissue directs sensory (motor) stimuli to nerve cells in the brain where synapses induce a response to the stimuli.
Thus, the grey matter basically acts as a messenger that also helps in understanding the message sent by the other organs or tissues!
What is the result of decreased Grey matter in brain?
Many learning and memory problems arise with the loss of Grey matter. But, the impact also depends on the region in the brain, from which the grey matter decreases.
Published in the May 2021 issue of Neurobiology of Stress, this study is a new step, conducted by the Georgia Institute of Technology. The researchers are affiliated with the Center for Translational Research in Neuroimaging and Data Science (TReNDS). They analyzed computed tomography scans in 120 neurological patients. These included 58 with acute Covid-19 and 62 without Covid-19. The patients matched for their age, gender, and disease.
The study analysis showed patients with higher levels of disability had lower gray matter volume in the superior, medial, and middle frontal gyri at discharge. At times even six months later when controlling for cerebrovascular diseases.
Gray matter volume in this region also significantly reduced in patients receiving oxygen therapy compared to patients not receiving oxygen therapy. Patients with fever had a significant reduction in gray matter volume in the inferior and middle temporal gyri and the fusiform gyrus compared to patients without fever. The results suggest Covid-19 may affect the frontal-temporal network through fever or lack of oxygen.
The researchers want to use this study to combat the virus. They will do so by making some changes in the genome and blocking the effect of the virus on the neural cells!