Skip to navigation Skip to main content Skip to footer

Approved Research

Relationship of COVID-19 with cognition and structural and functional brain connectivity changes over time and the relationship pre-covid clinical diagnosis and lifestyle variables

Principal Investigator: Dr Barbara Segura Fabregas
Approved Research ID: 80165
Approval date: June 22nd 2022

Lay summary

Aim: We aim to examine whether COVID-19 affects cognition and produces structural and functional changes in the brain using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). We also want to see the relationship of these changes with demographic and lifestyle variables. We will develop three lines of research: (1) Effect of COVID-19 on cognition and brain. (2) Influence of demographic and lifestyle variables on COVID-19 cognitive sequelae. (3) A methodological study to apply different analytical methods.

Scientific rationale: COVID-19 patients mainly have symptoms of respiratory illness, but the virus affects multiple organs, including the brain. COVID-19 leads to cognitive impairments in several domains, which persist for several months after discharge, and impairment of structural and functional brain integrity. The influence of vascular and other risk factors (lifestyle, medical conditions) on cognition, emotion and behaviour after COVID is unknown. In this context, longitudinal studies are necessary to establish causal relationships.

Methods: We will study sociodemographics, physical measures, biomarkers, mental health records, cognitive functioning, lifestyle and structural and functional MRI data from UK Reimaging Biobank study participants. Analyses of data will be carried out following recommended procedures, standard neuroimaging tools, and standard statistical analysis packages.

Impact: Understanding cognitive sequelae and their brain basis in post-COVID-19 individuals is needed to develop new rehabilitation models and improve the selection of assessment tools. It will help us estimate the economic burden generated by COVID-19 sequelae in affected families, which will help the development of social and health policies.