Health

COVID SCIENCE-Long COVID finds brain fog similar to ‘chemo brain’; Clip-on device shows promise in virus detection

Written by Nancy Lapid

Jan 12 (Reuters) – Here is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that requires further study to confirm results and that has not yet been approved by peer review.

Long-term ‘brain fog’ from coronavirus shares features of ‘chemical brain’

The ‘brain fog’ that some people reported after COVID-19 has shown a striking resemblance to a condition known as ‘chemo brain’ — the mental clouding that some people experience during and after cancer treatment, according to new research.

People who have contracted COVID-19 “often experience long-term neurological symptoms, including impaired attention, concentration and speed in processing information and memory,” similar to patients with cognitive impairment linked to cancer treatment and known to involve inflammation in the brain. explained in a report published Monday at bioRxiv https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.01.07.475453v1 prior to peer review. In the brains of patients who died of COVID-19, researchers found evidence of inflammation along with high levels of inflammatory proteins, one of which, CCL11, is linked to impairments in nervous system health and cognitive function.

Among the 63 patients with so-called long-term COVID, the researchers found high levels of CCL11 in 48 patients with long-standing cognitive symptoms, but not in 15 without cognitive problems. They speculate that promising treatments for cognitive impairment associated with cancer treatment may be beneficial for COVID-19 patients with similar problems. But they will need to be tested specifically for the long COVID.

The clip-on experimental device finds virus particles in the air

Researchers said a small experimental device designed to be attached to clothing may be able to tell if a wearer has been exposed to SARS-CoV-2 particles in the air.

The device, called Fresh Air Clip, constantly collects aerosols, including virus-carrying droplets, on the surface of the silicon, according to a report published Tuesday in Environmental Science & Technology Letters https://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/ acs.estlett.1c00877. After testing the device in lab experiments, the researchers distributed them to 62 volunteers, each of whom wore the screens for five days. A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis detected the coronavirus in five of the clips, four of which were bounced by restaurant servers and one by an employee at a homeless shelter.

The researchers noted that more research is needed to confirm its effectiveness before the device can be sold commercially. But it can be useful in “high-risk real-world conditions”, helping to improve early detection of potential cases and identify high-risk interior areas.

Researchers plan to reuse hospital masks

Researchers believe a type of mask that health care providers use to protect themselves from the coronavirus could be reprocessed to increase supplies.

Unlike cloth and surgical masks, N95 respirators are designed to achieve an extremely comfortable face fit, with edges that form a tight seal around the nose and mouth. Early in the pandemic, shortages of N95 masks forced individuals to reuse them or use masks that offer less protection. In a research paper published in the American Journal of Infection Control https://www.ajicjournal.org/article/S0196-6553(21)00741-0/fulltext, researchers report that masks can be safely re-sterilized using a standard approach to decontamination. Includes evaporating hydrogen peroxide while remaining effective for up to 25 cycles of reuse.

They said the successful, large-scale implementation of reprocessing the N95 ventilator will require significant coordination and logistical support to ensure disinfection and safety. It would be wise to plan now “ways to scale up this capacity and translate it into smaller hospitals and resource-limited healthcare settings that could benefit equally – perhaps more – from reprocessing this type of PPE in future disaster scenarios,” co-authored Dr. Kristina Yen of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston said in a press release.

Click for a Reuters graphic https://tmsnrt.rs/3c7R3Bl on vaccines in development.

(Reporting by Nancy Lapid; Editing by Bill Bercrot)

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