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Brain Behav Immun Health ; 24: 100491, 2022 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1936083


Background: As the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic continues, there has been a growing interest in the chronic sequelae of COVID-19. Neuropsychiatric symptoms are observed in the acute phase of infection, but there is a need for accurate characterization of how these symptoms evolve over time. Additionally, African American populations have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 Neurological and Molecular Prospective Cohort Study in Georgia (CONGA) was established to investigate the severity and chronicity of these neurologic findings over the five-year period following infection. Methods: The CONGA study aims to recruit COVID-19 positive adult patients in Georgia, United States from both the inpatient and outpatient setting, with 50% being African American. This paper reports our preliminary results from the baseline visits of the first 200 patients recruited who were on average 125 days since having a positive COVID-19 test. The demographics, self-reported symptoms, comorbidities, and quantitative measures of depression, anxiety, smell, taste, and cognition were analyzed. Cognitive measures were compared to demographically matched controls. Blood and mononuclear cells were drawn and stored for future analysis. Results: Fatigue was the most reported symptom in the study cohort (68.5%). Thirty percent of participants demonstrated hyposmia and 30% of participants demonstrated hypogeusia. Self-reported neurologic dysfunction did not correlate with dysfunction on quantitative neurologic testing. Additionally, self-reported symptoms and comorbidities were associated with depression and anxiety. The study cohort performed worse on cognitive measures compared to demographically matched controls, and African American patients scored lower compared to non-Hispanic White patients on all quantitative cognitive testing. Conclusion: Our results support the growing evidence that there are chronic neuropsychiatric symptoms following COVID-19 infection. Our results suggest that self-reported neurologic symptoms do not appear to correlate with associated quantitative dysfunction, emphasizing the importance of quantitative measurements in the complete assessment of deficits. Self-reported symptoms are associated with depression and anxiety. COVID-19 infection appears to be associated with worse performance on cognitive measures, though the disparity in score between African American patients and non-Hispanic White patients is likely largely due to psychosocial, physical health, and socioeconomic factors.

J Cannabis Res ; 3(1): 45, 2021 Oct 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1448507


BACKGROUND: Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a life-threatening clinical syndrome whose potential to become one of the most grievous challenges of the healthcare system evidenced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Considering the lack of target-specific treatment for ARDS, it is absolutely exigent to have an effective therapeutic modality to reduce hospitalization and mortality rate as well as to improve quality of life and outcomes for ARDS patients. ARDS is a systemic inflammatory disease starting with the pulmonary system and involves all other organs in a morbid bidirectional fashion. Mounting evidence including our findings supporting the notion that cannabinoids have potential to be targeted as regulatory therapeutic modalities in the treatment of inflammatory diseases. Therefore, it is plausible to test their capabilities as alternative therapies in the treatment of ARDS. In this study, we investigated the potential protective effects of cannabichromene (CBC) in an experimental model of ARDS. METHODS: We used, for the first time, an inhalant CBC treatment as a potential therapeutic target in a murine model of ARDS-like symptoms. ARDS was induced by intranasal administration of Poly(I:C), a synthetic mismatched double-stranded RNA, into the C57BL/6 mice (6-10 male mice/group, including sham, placebo, and CBC treated), three once-daily doses followed by a daily dose of inhalant CBC or placebo for the period of 8 days starting the first dose 2 h after the second Poly(I:C) treatment. We employed histologic, immunohistochemistry, and flow cytometry methods to assess the findings. Statistical analysis was performed by using one way analysis of variance (ANOVA) followed by Newman-Keuls post hoc test to determine the differences among the means of all experimental groups and to establish significance (p < 0.05) among all groups. RESULTS: Our data showed that CBC was able to reverse the hypoxia (increasing blood O2 saturation by 8%), ameliorate the symptoms of ARDS (reducing the pro-inflammatory cytokines by 50% in lung and blood), and protect the lung tissues from further destruction. Further analysis showed that CBC may wield its protective effects through transient receptor potential (TRP) cation channels, TRPA1 and TRPV1, increasing their expression by 5-folds in lung tissues compared to sham and untreated mice, re-establishing the homeostasis and immune balance. CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that inhalant CBC may be an effective alternative therapeutic target in the treatment of ARDS. In addition, Increased expression of TRPs cation channels after CBC treatment proposes a novel role for TRPs (TRPA1 and TRPV2) as new potential mechanism to interpret the beneficial effects of CBC as well as other cannabinoids in the treatment of ARDS as well as other inflammatory diseases. Importantly, delivering CBC through an inhaler device is a translational model supporting the feasibility of trial with human subjects, authorizing further research.