A team of neuroscientists and clinicians are examining the potential link between COVID-19 and the increased risk of Parkinson’s disease. The purpose is to identify links and measures to get ahead of the curve. Many scientists are still how SARS-CoV-2 can invade the brain. It is hypothesized that the virus causes insult to the brain cells and neurodegeneration follows on from here. The neurological symptoms in COVID-19 positive people ranged from severe, such as brain hypoxia to common symptoms like loss of smell.
On average loss or reduced smell was reported in three out of four people with COVID-19. This probably could be due to acute inflammation in the olfactory system. In neurodegenerative diseases, inflammation is understood to play a key role in the pathogenesis. Loss smell presents in around 90% of people in the early stages of Parkinson’s. By the time the presentation motor dysfunction appears, valuable time for initiating neuroprotective therapies is lost.
The researchers also took insight from the neurological consequences of the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 where the risk of developing Parkinson’s had increased 2-3 fold. Based on this the team has developed neuroprotective therapies that are under investigation.
Ref link: https://content.iospress.com/articles/journal-of-parkinsons-disease/jpd202211