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  • 2022-02-01

Assessing functional connectivity differences and work-related fatigue in surviving COVID-negative patients

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has affected all aspects of life around the world. Neuroimaging evidence suggests the novel coronavirus can attack the central nervous system (CNS), causing cerebro-vascular abnormalities in the brain. This can lead to focal changes in cerebral blood flow and metabolic oxygen consumption rate in the brain. However, the extent and spatial locations of brain alterations in COVID-19 survivors are largely unknown. In this study, we have assessed brain functional connectivity (FC) using resting-state functional MRI (RS-fMRI) in 38 (25 males) COVID patients two weeks after hospital discharge, when PCR negative and 31 (24 males) healthy subjects. FC was estimated using independent component analysis (ICA) and dual regression. When compared to the healthy group, the COVID group demonstrated significantly enhanced FC in the basal ganglia and precuneus networks (family wise error (fwe) corrected, pfwe < 0.05), while, on the other hand, reduced FC in the language network (pfwe < 0.05). The COVID group also experienced higher fatigue levels during work, compared to the healthy group (p < 0.001). Moreover, within the precuneus network, we noticed a significant negative correlation between FC and fatigue scores across groups (Spearman’s ρ = −0.47, p = 0.001, r2 = 0.22). Interestingly, this relationship was found to be significantly stronger among COVID survivors within the left parietal lobe, which is known to be structurally and functionally associated with fatigue in other neurological disorders.

Link to complete publication here: https://scholar.google.com/citations?view_op=view_citation&hl=en&user=dqpMNRUAAAAJ&citation_for_view=dqpMNRUAAAAJ:RHpTSmoSYBkC

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