This is an article which came into my inbox today – Even Mild COVID Is Hard on the Brain via Medscape
Quoting from the article, which reports on research by Dr Clarissa Yasuda, MD, PhD, from University of Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil:
“Even mild cases of COVID-19 can affect the function and structure of the brain, early research suggests. Some studies have shown a high prevalence of symptoms of anxiety and depression in COVID-19 survivors, but few have investigated the associated cerebral changes”
“On brain imaging, those with COVID-19 and anxiety and depression had atrophy in the limbic area of the brain, which plays a role in memory and emotional processing. No shrinkage in this area was evident in people who had COVID-19 without anxiety and depression or in a healthy control group of individuals without COVID-19. The researchers also observed a “severe” pattern of abnormal cerebral functional connectivity in those with COVID-19 and anxiety and depression. “
The whole article is worth a read, specially if you have had Covid and are dealing with anxiety or similar conditions.
The article goes on to quote from Dr Yasuda “”The magnitude of these changes suggests that they could lead to problems with memory and thinking skills, so we need to be exploring holistic treatments even for people mildly affected by COVID-19”.
The authors pick up that “Treating these symptoms may induce “brain plasticity, which may result in some degree of gray matter increase and eventually prevent further structural and functional damage”.
We know that a therapeutic approach to Yoga can help promote both Neuro Gensesis – expansion of brain neurons – and Neuro Plasticity – new and reinforced neuronal connections. Put simply Yoga can most definitely help with brain health.
However it is worth a caution here that not all Yoga – or more correctly not all Yoga teaching is equal. Yoga for brain health would need to be carefully constructed so it is more than just Asana, and would need to target improvement in the health of the nervous system (via Hebb’s law if anyone is interested in reading further) – this requires a Yoga professional, such as a Yoga therapist, who is familiar not just with yoga but with physiology and mental health.
This is certainly an area I can help with as a Yoga Therapist if you are finding long term mental health problems post covid.