Health and Science

New Covid study hints at long-term loss of brain tissue, Dr. Scott Gottlieb warns

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Key Points
  • A new U.K. study examined brain imaging before and after a coronavirus infection and looked specifically at the potential effect on the nervous system. 
  • “In short, the study suggests that there could be some long-term loss of brain tissue from Covid, and that would have some long-term consequences,” Gottlieb said.
  • Gottlieb explained to CNBC's "The News with Shepard Smith" that the destruction of brain tissue could explain why Covid patients lost their sense of smell. 
VIDEO3:2503:25
Dr. Scott Gottlieb: New study suggests link between Covid, long-term loss of brain tissue

Dr. Scott Gottlieb warned Thursday about the potential for long-term brain loss associated with Covid, citing a new study from the United Kingdom.

"In short, the study suggests that there could be some long-term loss of brain tissue from Covid, and that would have some long-term consequences," the former FDA chief and CNBC contributor said. 

 "You could compensate for that over time, so the symptoms of that may go away, but you're never going to regain the tissue if, in fact, it's being destroyed as a result of the virus," said Gottlieb, who serves on the board of Covid vaccine-maker Pfizer.

The U.K. study examined brain imaging before and after a coronavirus infection and looked specifically at the potential effect on the nervous system. 

Gottlieb explained to CNBC's "The News with Shepard Smith" that the destruction of brain tissue could explain why Covid patients lost their sense of smell. 

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"The diminishment in the amount of cortical tissue happened to be in regions of the brain that are close to the places that are responsible for smell," he said. "What it suggests is that, the smell, the loss of smell, is just an effect of a more primary process that's underway, and that process is actually shrinking of cortical tissue." 

Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC contributor and is a member of the boards of Pfizer, genetic testing start-up Tempus, health-care tech company Aetion Inc. and biotech company Illumina.