A complex yet beautiful structure like the human brain is a sum of billions of cells or neurons. These work together to guide the body’s functions. The brain has different regions responsible for varied functions. The most significant part is the cerebral cortex, which processes information from the senses, controls movement, etc. It also takes care of complex functions related to decision-making and reasoning. The limbic system deals with emotions, and the brainstem regulates critical functions like heart rate and breathing.
One’s brain can get affected in many ways. One of the common causes can be injury – it can become swollen and bleed due to a blow to your head. If this happens, many more complications can occur. A person can even die. Then, certain disorders can also affect its functioning. Think of Alzheimer’s, for example. This neurological condition can slowly affect the brain, impairing a person’s cognitive abilities and causing eventual death. Sometimes, certain drugs and medications also lead to brain damage, due to which one’s memory, behavior, and learning may suffer.
Because the brain is a critical organ, health leaders want to create awareness among the public and research groups to help everyone know it better. In this endeavor, nations celebrate Brain Awareness Week in March. The global campaign aims to boost public knowledge about the brain and continuous research on this. The complexity of this organ keeps scientists busy unraveling many mysteries.
During the awareness week, educational institutions and organizations organize events and activities worldwide. They can follow a theme. For example, it can be “Brain Health,” and events will emphasize how to keep your brain fit throughout life. Brain Awareness Week gives the audience a peek into the latest research and discoveries in this field. If you check MyBioSource’s account of Brain Awareness Week, you will find that Mr. Barack Obama launched a more than USD 100-million project called BRAIN Initiative in 2013. BRAIN stands for Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies.
After the pandemic, brain health has become a significant concern. New research shows that a COVID-19-infected person can be highly susceptible to neurological conditions, such as depression, anxiety, stroke, migraine, cognitive impairment, memory problems, and more. Let’s dig more into this concerning matter at once to understand the accurate picture.
A published report on Nature Medicine checked a database of the US-based Veterans Affairs department to search for the medical histories of 14 million people. They studied 44 types of brain conditions along with other neurological challenges to discover that COVID-19 patients were at least 7% more vulnerable to brain diseases than others who didn’t have them. According to research, about 6.6 million Americans suffer from brain issues after contracting the virus. The report further suggests that people who faced mild infections and had no previous history of brain condition showed signs of brain disorder. Washington University’s clinical epidemiologist Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly informs that it has affected oldies, young people, males, and females across different races.
Furthermore, memory loss or brain fog is one of the most common signs of brain problems. Almost 77% of people down with COVID have this health risk. According to the experts, COVID-led neurological disorders amount to over 40 million cases worldwide. A while back, the CDC reported that about 20% of virus-infected people had a propensity toward developing long-haul virus symptoms. The data also exhibit that adult survivors younger than 65 are likely to suffer from one or the other long coronavirus symptoms, including brain fog, muscle problems, heart ailments, breathing troubles, blood clots, and more.
Recent researches reveal that the severity of the viral infection can spell worse long-term effects on mental and cognitive health. Although the virus doesn’t enter the brain, the inflammation caused by a coronavirus in the body affects the brain. The brain starts aging when the cells get affected at molecular levels. Due to inflammation, neurons or cells die and fail to connect with other brain cells. Even though cells can self-repair and get rid of damage, their decreased efficiency can prevent them from mending things. Sever COVID-19 illness creates the same impact on the frontal cortex cells.
Loma Linda University Health’s neurologist Danilo Vitorovic says brain aging problems should happen when they should. Younger people going through this process so early in their life is devastating. Due to brain cell aging, one cannot handle information, think properly, and recollect things. Brain health can also affect gut health. The gut contains many microorganisms or microbiota that aid immunity, digestion, and metabolism. Damaged gut microbiota can cause obesity, type 2 diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Overall coronavirus cases in the US may be declining after plateauing in summer. But fall and winter are critical months. There is a warning that infections can spike. So, don’t risk and do what’s in your health’s best interest. Keep yourself and your family safe. If you live in medium or high-risk zones, wear masks as mandated.