Skip to content
Opinion
Therese Raphael

What Does Covid Do to the Brain and Mind?

Researchers are seeking to understand how Covid might affect the brain and mental health. What they find should inform how we manage this virus.

Still in a pandemic.

Still in a pandemic.

Photographer: ISAAC LAWRENCE/AFP

Many of us have put Covid largely out of our minds. But one of the most intriguing and important areas of study is exactly what Covid does to the mind. The answer to that question is still far from clear. And yet it affects how we treat Covid as well as how we manage future pandemics and viruses.

In a study published this week in the journal Nature, neuroscientist Gwenaelle Douaud and colleagues examined brain scans of 785 participants from the U.K. biobank, which holds genetic data and brain scans of 40,000 people, the largest resource of its kind anywhere. Their findings offer a robust indication that getting Covid, even a mild case, changes the biology of the brain and its functioning.