Risk of infection could be predicted by individual’s brain activity


eMediNexus    10 January 2023

A study published the findings of the first exposure study in people in Scientific Reports which revealed ones cognitive function before exposure to a respiratory virus can predict the severity of the infection.


The researchers looked at a group of 18 healthy volunteers who completed three rounds of daily brain function tests over three days before being exposed to the human rhinovirus, a common cold virus. An index of variability was created by combining 18 measures of cognitive performance provided by the software, including assessments of reaction speed, attentiveness, and quick switching between numbers and symbols.


Following exposure to a respiratory infection, experts assessed cognitive function to determine whether it was a good indicator of immune functioning. An at-home, computerized self-test used to measure cognitive variability proved significantly predictive. Changes in brain states known to raise the risk of illness, such as stress, exhaustion, and poor sleep, can be detected in subtle differences in daily cognitive performance.


The researchers measured viral shedding by cleaning the individuals nasal passages with saline solution. By cultivating the virus in cell culture, they could detect whether a viral infection was present and how much virus was present in the fluid. The team used the Jackson score to determine symptoms, which asked participants to rate themselves on a scale of one to three for eight symptoms of a common cold.


The research team is hopeful that smartphone use, which tracks cognitive indicators like typing speed and accuracy as well as how much time a user spends sleeping, can someday assist in predicting times of increased susceptibility to sickness. The study also uncovered a few genetic markers that might point to impaired immune function, which the team plans to investigate further in subsequent investigations.


(Source: https://theprint.in/health/researchers-suggest-how-brain-game-can-predict-risk-of-infection/1304349/)

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