Long covid infection linked with risk of 'face blindness', warns new study

News Network
March 21, 2023

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New Delhi, Mar 21: Prolonged symptoms of Covid-19 may be associated with difficulty recognising faces, a little-known condition called face blindness, and navigational problems, according to a study.

Previous studies have shown that Covid-19 can cause a range of neurological problems, including the loss of smell and taste, and impairments in attention, memory, speech, and language, known as "brain fog".

The latest research, published in the journal Cortex, is the first to report prosopagnosia, or face blindness, following symptoms consistent with Covid-19.

The condition that can make people fail to recognise familiar faces, has been estimated to affect between 2 and 2.5 per cent of people in the world.

The researchers assessed the case of Annie, a 28-year-old customer service representative and part-time portrait artist in the US, who was diagnosed with Covid-19 in March 2020 and suffered a symptom relapse two months later.

"When I first met Annie, she told me that she was unable to recognise the faces of her family," said Marie-Luise Kieseler, a graduate student at Dartmouth College in the US, adding Annie now relies on voices to recognise people.

Annie also experienced navigational deficits after having Covid-19. She has had difficulty remembering where particular sections in her grocery store are and relies on Google maps and its pin function to remember where she parks her car.

“The combination of prosopagnosia and navigational deficits that Annie had is something that caught our attention because the two deficits often go hand in hand after somebody either has had brain damage or developmental deficits,” said study senior author Brad Duchaine, a professor at Dartmouth.

"That co-occurrence is probably due to the two abilities depending on neighbouring brain regions in the temporal lobe," Duchaine said in a statement.

Dr. Vinit Suri, Senior Consultant, Neurology, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi noted that the exact mechanisms by which long Covid may cause face blindness are not yet fully understood, but there are several possible explanations.

"Firstly, long Covid can cause a range of neurological symptoms which may affect the brain regions responsible for face recognition, causing difficulty in processing visual information and recognising familiar faces," Suri told PTI.

"Secondly, Covid-19 can cause inflammation and damage to the blood vessels, which can lead to reduced blood flow to the brain. This can cause brain damage and cognitive impairments, including face blindness," he added.

The research team conducted a series of tests with Annie to evaluate her problems with face recognition and determine whether she also has difficulties with other perceptual or cognitive abilities.

In one test, Annie was sequentially presented with 60 images of celebrity faces and was asked to name them. Annie correctly identified 29 per cent of the 48 celebrities whom she was familiar with as compared to most people, who can correctly identify 84 per cent of familiar celebrities.

The second test was a doppelganger test. Annie was shown a celebrity's name and then presented with images of two faces: the face of a celebrity and that of someone similar, and was then asked to identify which face was the famous person.

She identified the celebrity in 69 per cent of the 58 trials, as compared to 87 per cent in the control group.

"Our results from the test with unfamiliar faces show that it wasn't just that Annie couldn’t recall the name or biographical information of a famous person that she was familiar with, but she really has trouble learning new identities," said Kieseler.

The research team also obtained self-reported data from 54 individuals who had long Covid with symptoms for 12 weeks or more, and 32 persons who had reported that they had fully recovered from Covid-19.

Most respondents with long Covid reported that their cognitive and perceptual abilities had decreased since they had Covid.

"It was not just a small concentration of really impaired cases but a broad majority of people in the long Covid group reported noticeable difficulties doing things that they were able to do before contracting Covid-19 without any problems," Kieseler said.

"Our study highlights the sorts of perceptual problems with face recognition and navigation that can be caused by Covid-19 -- it is something that people should be aware of, especially physicians and other health care professionals,” Duchaine added.

Dr. Atul Prasad, Principal Director & HOD Neurology, BLK-Max Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi said this is the first report of long Covid causing prosopagnosia.

"The more we study the virus, the more we realise how much damage it can cause during acute infection and now after infection has settled," Prasad told PTI.

Suri noted that that not all people with long Covid will develop face blindness, and the severity and duration of symptoms can vary widely.

"Further research is needed to better understand the relationship between long Covid and face blindness and to develop effective treatments and interventions for those affected," he added. 

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News Network
July 7,2024

Mangaluru: Dakshina Kannada district recorded 300 infant deaths between the time of birth and one year of age, with an infant mortality rate (IMR) of 10.3 in 2023-24.

According to health and family welfare department statistics, out of 29,027 live births, 180 boy and 120 girl infants died between April 2023 and March 2024.

Meanwhile, 10 pregnant women died, recording a maternal mortality rate (MMR) of 34.4 in the district in 2023-24.

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Agencies
June 29,2024

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Bengaluru: Amid raging debate over the possibility of change in Chief Minister and demand for three more deputy chief ministers in Karnataka, state Congress president D K Shivakumar on Saturday asked partymen and leaders to refrain from issuing public statements on the issue and warned of disciplinary action.

Shivakumar, who is also the Deputy Chief Minister urged partymen to "shut their mouth" in the interest of the party, as he also requested seers not to interfere in political matters.

There is growing demand within the state cabinet to have three more deputy chief ministers from Veerashaiva-Lingayat, SC/ST and minority communities. Currently, Shivakumar from the dominant Vokkaliga community is the only Deputy Chief Minister in the Siddaramaiah cabinet.

A Vokkaliga seer Kumara Chandrashekaranatha Swamiji of Vishwa Vokkaliga Mahasamastana Math on Thursday had publicly urged Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to step down and make way for his deputy Shivakumar.

Following this a Veearashaiva-Lingayat seer -- Srisaila Jagadguru Channa Siddharama Panditaradhya Swamiji on Friday said ministers from his community should be considered for the CM's post in case there is a leadership change, while also pitching for them to be given priority in the event of creation of additional Deputy CM posts.

"There is no discussion on any Deputy Chief Minister nor there is any question about the Chief Minister. Swamiji (Vokkaliga seer) out of affection towards me might have spoken about me. That's all. I request -- I don't need anyone's recommendation. For the work we have done, our party high command will decide," Shivakumar said in response to a question whether he had discussed with the high command the demand for more DCMs during the Delhi visit.

Addressing reporters here, he said, "Kharge (AICC President Mallikarjun Kharge), Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and I, in the interest of the party, have decided how to function. So there is no need for any MLA or minister or Swamiji to speak. If they (seers) bless us it's enough."

There is no need for any minister to comment on the CM or Deputy CM issue in public or before the media, Shivakumar said and warned that "if any MLA or anyone from the party raises it, the AICC or I will be forced to issue notice and take disciplinary action. Discipline is important in the party. There is nothing without discipline."

"I know the struggle that has gone to bring the party to this level, there is no need for any of them to speak now."

Responding to a query, the Deputy CM said, "In the interest of the party I'm telling everyone -- if you shut your mouth it will be good for the party."

Asked about seers interfering in politics, he said, "No swamiji had spoken other than now...I request all of them with folded hands, don't interfere in political matters."

A section within the Congress is of the opinion that the statement by the ministers seeking three more Deputy CMs was part of a plan by Siddaramaiah's camp to keep Shivakumar in check, amid talks that he might seek the CM post after two-and-half years of this government's tenure, and to counter his influence both in the government and party.

There is also a feeling that the Vokkaliga seer publicly urging Siddaramaiah to step down and make way for Shivakumar is a counter to the CM from the KPCC president's camp.

There was stiff competition between Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar for the chief minister's post after the declaration of Assembly election results in May last year, and the Congress had managed to convince the latter and made him the Deputy Chief Minister.

There were some reports back then of a compromise having been reached based on a "rotational chief minister formula", according to which Shivakumar will become CM after two-and-half years, but those have not been officially confirmed by the party.

Shivakumar has made no secret of his ambition to become the CM, while Siddaramaiah had sought public support during the Lok Sabha polls so that the Congress wins the maximum number of seats in the state, which would strengthen his position.

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coastaldigest.com news network
July 11,2024

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Mangaluru: Two athletes from Mangaluru are gearing up to represent India at the Paris Olympics starting on July 26. Poovamma MR, a seasoned member of the Indian women’s 4x400m relay team, and Mijo Chacko Kurian, selected for the men’s 4x400m relay team, are poised to showcase their talent on the international stage.

Poovamma MR had a notable moment recently, marking her third interaction with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Reflecting on her journey, she shared with the Prime Minister that she was just 18 when she served as a reserve member for the 2008 Olympics and was part of the team again in 2016. 

Determined to break a longstanding barrier, she mentioned that the team hadn't reached the finals since 2002, but this time, they aim to create a national record and secure a spot in the finals. The Prime Minister commended her confidence and dedication.

“This was my third interaction with the PM. I met him in 2014 and 2018. Earlier, we showed him our medals, and he congratulated us. This time, he asked us questions about our experiences and aspirations. It felt wonderful,” Poovamma remarked. Currently training in Patiala, she is set to depart for a 20-day training camp in Poland before heading to Paris.

In contrast, Mijo Chacko Kurian is making his Olympic debut. His journey began in class XII when he switched from cricket to athletics upon seeing runners at the NMPT stadium while Mangala Stadium was under renovation. 

Living nearby, he approached the coach and joined the training sessions. Despite initial struggles, he balanced his studies in engineering with his growing passion for athletics. His dedication paid off, leading him to leave college after two-and-a-half years to focus fully on his athletic career. Now a junior warrant officer with the Indian Air Force, Mijo is ready to make his mark in Paris.

As these athletes prepare for their Olympic journey, their stories of perseverance and dedication inspire many back home, highlighting the vibrant sporting spirit of Mangaluru.

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