Patrizia Bisiacchi

NeuroCov- Neurocognitive changes associated with the olfactory system in COVID-19 patients

Required budget: 25.000 euro

Although COVID-19 originally presents as a respiratory disease, a large number of individuals diagnosed with this infection have reported neurological consequences. Neurologic symptoms include those related to the central nervous system (CNS, confusion, headache, seizures), peripheral nervous system (anosmia, ageusia, pain), and enteric nervous system (eg, diarrhea) (Esposito et al., 2020; Li et al., 2020; Leichen et al., 2020). In particular, among the symptoms, the most common represent hyposmia and ageusia (i.e. loss of taste from the tongue), which are reported in 65% of affected individuals (Menni et al., 2020).

Smell alterations may persist even after the infection resolves (negative nasopharyngeal swab) (Lovato et al., 2020). These disorders suggest the possibility that the infection invades and reaches the brain via the olfactory, lingual and glossopharyngeal nerves also confirmed by preclinical studies (Netland et al., 2008 Li et al., 2016)

Evaluate possible alterations of cognitive functions (memory, in particular), decision-making and emotion recognition in COVID-19 patients with olfactory deficit both in the initial phase and after resolution of the infection (negative nasopharyngeal swab).

This double evaluation will be fundamental to assess possible permanent alterations, which could be hypothetical markers of long-term degenerative processes, as demonstrated in other diseases such as Parkinson’s disease (Limphaibool et al., 2019).

Application for funding of a research grant lasting 12 months for a gross amount of 25 KE