Imaging Neuroinflammation In COVID‑19 and Persistent Depression With/Without Other Neuropsychiatric Symptoms

Meyer, Jeffrey H | $761,175

Ontario Centre for Addiction and Mental Health 2021 CIHR Project Grant

COVID‑19 is infecting 1 in 100 Canadians and over 23 million people around the world. After people recover from short term breathing problems, and feelings of sickness with the virus, there can be longer term problems affecting the brain. It is believed that the virus can cause inflammation of the brain. We know that inflammation in the brain is implicated in causing depression symptoms. About 30% of those infected with COVID‑19 report later elevations in level of depression and/or other symptoms of mental illness. The purpose of this study is to use state of the art brain scanning to detect whether brain inflammation is happening in those with COVID‑19 who later get depression and/or other mental illnesses. There are two main purposes for this study. First, it would be the first to show definitive evidence of brain inflammation in COVID‑19 with later mental illness. Second, if we discover brain inflammation, we can study treatments to see if they can prevent or remove this inflammation, using the brain scan to show that the treatment has an effect in the brain. Having a brain scan to detect COVID‑19 effect in the brain is extremely important for developing new brain treatments for COVID-19: Most companies and many government funding agencies like the National Institutes of Health in the US, require use of brain scanning to show that brain treatments get into the brain as a requirement to invest funds for clinical trials.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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