Less than a year later, and unfortunately, it's time for a sobering update on all the ways in which COVID-19 can affect the brain - from strokes to long COVID.

As usual, refs at the end, but here it is:

COVID-19 and the brain 🧠: an updated thread 🧵
COVID did infect hundreds of millions of people, giving scientists plenty of data. At the same time, it completely changed how science is done.

A rapidly mutating virus would already be hard to study, the pandemic didn't help. That all to say: There's a lot we still don't know.
Let's start with the survivors. A study published yesterday in The Lancet showed that 33% of patients diagnosed with COVID had some neurological manifestation.

Some key conditions: stroke/bleeding, anxiety and mood disorders, Guillain-Barré syndrome, dementia, and Parkinsonism.
The incidence of stroke and bleeding brings a key point: is the virus causing this, or is it the inflammation caused by the virus? Both.

SARS-CoV-2 does affect brain cells, but a lot of the damage might also come from our own immune system's response, below a summary (Jan/2021).
This brings us to the Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC) AKA Long COVID.

Symptoms include: fatigue, brain fog, sleep disorders, anxiety, and depression.

At this point, we just don't know enough about it, but the societal impacts of PASC are downright scary.
Speaking of scary, let's talk about a somewhat unspoken population of COVID patients, children.

Although most are spared from the severity of the disease, there's evidence for an increased risk of multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS), with a significant neurological impact.
This is still a rare hyperinflammatory condition, but a study showed that up to 12% of children and adolescents hospitalized because of COVID developed life-threatening neurological disorders.

If nothing else, let this be yet another reminder to be safe, no matter your age.
If there are unknowns about the effects of COVID in the brain of pediatric patients, in the pregnant population that's even more nebulous, albeit still concerning.

Although relatively rare, vertical transmission, i.e. mom to baby, of SARS-CoV-2 is possible (around 2-3%)
What remains to be studied is how that early exposure to COVID might affect brain development.

Here, much like PASC and MIS, the research will be ongoing for decades, examining not just the impact of COVID itself, but also the impact of growing up during a global pandemic.
The goal of this is not to be alarmist, but to show some of the effects of this pandemic directly on our brains - and we didn't even touch on mental health yet.

Even with the incredible vaccines we have, this is far from being over. So continue to take care and stay safe y'all.

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More from @thiagoarzua

9 Jun 20
"You should stick to the science"

Aight, here's a thread about the ways neuroscience was used to justify blatant racism.

References at the end.
Scientific racism is basically as old as what we now call science.

From the Enlightenment on, there was a big push to understand what race was. Somehow, almost all those early scientists agreed that a "white race" was "superior".

Here's some of them, see if you notice anything.
As the role of the brain in human behavior became clear, scientific racism spilled into the newborn area of neuroscience.

That likely started with craniometry, measurements of the skull, which quickly turned to phrenology, the idea that head shapes can predict mental traits.
Read 12 tweets
28 May 20
It was about time.

COVID-19 and the brain 🧠: a thread 🧵

Bring snacks and a drink, it'll be a journey.
Full references at the end.

@OpenAcademics @AcademicChatter
First things first: I am not a neurologist, nor a physician.

None of this is medical advice.

Talk to your doctor if you are feeling sick.
Stay inside if possible.
Take care of yourself and the ones you care about.
Anyway, we had evidence back from the 2003 SARS pandemic that SARS-CoV was able to infect the brain.

The theory is that the pathologies were similar in the brain and lungs: an inflammatory response out of control.

Shown here, the lesions found in the brain of a SARS patient.
Read 15 tweets
23 May 20
Our newest paper just went live on @MDPIOpenAccess, so you know what that means: time for a thread 🧵

Get some coffee, some snacks and let’s talk about cerebral organoids

@AcademicChatter @OpenAcademics
You might've seen me talking about organoids before, I think they're pretty amazing.

These little balls of tissue are used to model all kinds of neurological diseases, from Alzheimer's to Zika infections.

Shameless plug for a review we wrote on those:
Even though organoids have been around since 2013, there is still a lot we do not know about them.

So, in this paper, we set out to characterize and compare these organoids to adult and fetal brains. We focused on 3 aspects: structural, molecular, and electrophysiological.
Read 8 tweets

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