Your Brain on COVID-19

Image courtesy of Gerd Altmann on

What a difference a day makes.

There is a blog I regularly read in my real life. Just yesterday, someone on the blog posted a diary full of links to peer-reviewed articles on the microbleeds in the brain that COVID-19 appears to cause and some of the known effects of micro bleeds on the brain in the short-term and over the longer-term.

This spring, more information is becoming available on the effects of COVID-19 on the brain. For instance, we’re learning that the virus reduces grey matter in areas of the brain associated with memory and executive function. The virus causes a plethora of issues in pediatric patients with disease severe enough to result in hospitalization.

Now, we learn that COVID-19 appears to cause microbleeds in the brain, even in mild disease. What makes these mircobleeds in the brain so dangerous is where they happen. COVID-19 appears to cause the microbleeds and resulting damage in very specific parts of the brain: the basal ganglia, cerebellum, and brainstem. These would be the parts of the ‘old brain’ that control basic life functions like breathing and heart rate. They control sensory regulation and coordination of voluntary movement. These microbleeds also have been found in the frontal cortex of non-human primates. The frontal cortex is responsible for executive functioning, impulse control, and personality. Damage in all of these areas has been implicated in several dementias and in CTE.

On a much more immediate level, these findings are very much in line with the deficits I observed in the 9 year old I recently diagnosed with dysarthria following COVID-19 infection and COVID-19 related encephalopathy. Click here to return to that post. It also does not make me hopeful that his dysarthria is temporary. As a clinical researcher, I am very interested in his case and the progress he makes. As an SLP, I hope to help other pediatric focused SLPs learn to manage any pediatric patients with COVID-19 related acquired dysarthria they may encounter. But, as a human being, it makes me sad that we continue to struggle with this virus.

What say you?

As always, thank you for taking the time to read my posts.

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