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This major COVID symptom is linked to brain damage

Why do people suffer from loss of smell?

SHARE This major COVID symptom is linked to brain damage
An illustration of the omicron variant.

Why do people suffer from smell loss?

Michelle Budge, Deseret News

Loss of smell — a major COVID-19 symptom since the beginning of the pandemic — appears to be linked to damage in the brain, a new study has found.

Why it matters: Loss of smell is one of the major telling signs of the coronavirus, impacting thousands of people every day.

  • The coronavirus has also been found to cause brain damage in some patients.
  • Linking the two major symptoms together can tell researchers and medical experts a lot about the virus.

What they found: Researchers said in a new study that they found a possible reason for the loss of smell COVID-19 symptom, according to Forbes.

  • The study, published in the medical journal JAMA Neurology, found that COVID-19 patients often had damaged blood vessels and axons — which are nerve cells that communicate with other cells — in the part of the brain that processes smell, per Forbes.
  • Damage to axons and microscopic blood vessels was more severe in patients with COVID-19 than in other people.
  • COVID-19 patients who said they had changes to their sense of smell were affected more by the damage to axons and blood vessels.

Yes, but: Those with severe COVID-19 symptoms were not more likely to have damage to these cells and blood vessels, according to Forbes.

The bigger picture: Researchers at Thomas Jefferson University are trying to develop a treatment for those who have lost their sense of smell from COVID-19 — a condition known as anosmia.

  • The researchers are using platelet-rich plasma as a restorative therapy to repair any cells damaged due to the COVID-19 infection, per ABC News.
  • Patients need to receive treatments for at least three months.
  • However, the researchers are still in the first phase of testing.
  • Scientists hope to expand the research to help people recover from smell loss, Deseret News’ Ashley Nash writes.