10-year MRI study reveals brain damage from West Nile virus

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Researchers have found evidence of brain damage in patients who have suffered from the mosquito-borne West Nile virus, according to a recent article by The Washington Post

Though experts have known that the virus can cause memory problems and tremors, a 10-year study examining 262 West Nile patients revealed noticeable damage to the cerebral cortex, according to MRI scan results, which enables memory, attention and language functions.   

Researchers at Baylor University tracked patients from 2002 to 2012 with varying levels of symptoms enabled by the virus. Official results of the study have not yet been published, however were presented on Nov. 7 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in Baltimore. 

“Those areas correlated exactly with what we were seeing on the neurological exams,” said Kristy Murray, PhD, an associate professor of pediatric tropical medicine at Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine and lead author of the study. “The thought is that the virus enters the brain and certain parts are more susceptible, and where those susceptibilities are is where we see the shrinkage occurring.” 

Read the entire article for more information and findings.