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Abstract #1734

COVID19 effects on brain tissue microstructure: Longitudinal study of self-isolated cases using diffusion MRI

J. Jean Chen1,2, Jordan A. Chad1,2, Xiang Ji3, Bradley J. Macintosh1,3, Asaf Gilboa2,4, Eugenie Roudaia2, Allison Sekuler2,4, Benjamin Lam3, Chris Heyn3, Sandra E. Black3, and Simon J. Graham1,3
1Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada, 2Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Health Sciences, Toronto, ON, Canada, 3Hurvitz Brain Sciences, Sunnybrook Research Institute, Toronto, ON, Canada, 4Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada

The impact of COVID19 on the brain’s microstructural integrity is still unclear. In this study, we study self-isolated COVID19 patients using diffusion-tensor and free-water imaging, based on single- and multi-shell acquisitions, respectively. We demonstrate reduced mean diffusivity and free water in both grey and white matter of patients in regions associated with vision and olfaction. At 3-month follow-up, microstructural abnormalities in patients appear to persist, and involve more brain regions, including parts of the default-mode network. Our results support the existence of measurable long-term, evolving brain deficits due to COVID19.

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