A new study published in Nature magazine on the 31st August 2023 found that elevated levels of certain blood clotting proteins in COVID-19 patients at hospital admission predicted later development of long COVID cognitive symptoms like brain fog. This suggests abnormal blood coagulation may contribute to long COVID’s neurological effects.
Researchers analysed over 300 protein biomarkers in blood samples from 54 COVID-19 patients. They compared 21 patients who went on to develop cognitive long COVID symptoms to 33 who did not. Two clotting proteins, P-selectin and D-dimer, were significantly higher in the long COVID group.
The elevated coagulation proteins imply treatments that reduce clotting like blood thinners could potentially help alleviate long COVID neurological issues. However, more research is needed to confirm these proteins as predictive biomarkers and understand the mechanisms.
The study also provided evidence of neuronal injury in some patients, with elevated levels of proteins associated with brain damage. This further supports the hypothesis that coagulation abnormalities may enable damage to the brain, manifesting as long COVID symptoms.
In conclusion, this study identified initial blood levels of clotting proteins as potential predictive biomarkers for later development of post-COVID cognitive impairment. The findings provide clues into biological processes, especially concerning blood coagulation, that may underlie neurological long COVID.
You can read the full study in Nature Magazine (31-08-23) by clicking here.