Future Research for Blood Biomarkers in Patients Hospitalized With COVID-19: Jennifer Frontera, MD


The professor of neurology at NYU Langone Grossman School of Medicine discussed future research for neurological complications in patients hospitalized with COVID-19 infection. [WATCH TIME: 4 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 4 minutes

“Overall, trying to keep patients out of the hospital with preventative medicine or early therapeutics is important because I think most people would agree that neurological injury following COVID is one of the worst-case scenarios. It has a profound impact on return to work, functional status, and even quality of life in terms of being able to participate in baseline activities, be it work, leisure, household chores, whatever. The impact can be long lasting.”

Following the publication of a study evaluating neurological complications in 251 hospitalized patients with COVID-19, future research is needed to investigate the elevated levels of neurodegenerative biomarkers in this patient population. Investigators found that levels were elevated to, or higher than, in those with Alzheimer disease, suggesting that there is a significant amount of brain injury for some patients during acute COVID-19 infection. 

We sat down with Jennifer Frontera, MD, lead author on the study, to learn more about study design, as well as directions for additional research. According to Frontera, looking at these biomarkers over time will be important, as existing studies suggest that while they may be high in the acute setting, they may decline with time. 

Frontera further discussed takeaways from the study, stressing the need to recognize encephalopathy, which was the most frequent neurological type of injury that investigators witness in the patient population, and treating underlying etiologies. Injuries occurring during the acute phase of COVID-19 may have lasting effects, she said, also noting that preventive measures such as vaccinations and masking, as well as newer antiviral medications and monoclonal antibodies such as sotrovimab.

Frontera JA, Boutajangout A, Masurkar AV, et al. Comparison of serum neurodegenerative biomarkers among hospitalized COVID-19 patients versus non-COVID subjects with normal cognition, mild cognitive impairment, or Alzheimer’s dementia. Alzheimers Dement. Published online January 13, 2022. doi:10.1002/alz.12556.
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