Neuroplasticity (includes neuroscience)
C. Sue Carter, PhD
Distinguished University Research Professor
The mental health sequelae of COVID-19 are largely unknown. Survivors of COVID-19 appear to be at increased risk of adverse psychiatric outcomes, and a mental health diagnosis may be an independent risk factor for COVID-19. This presentation will describe the emerging theories of COVID-19 effects on CNS and neuropsychiatric function and will report on a prospective research study designed to evaluate the inflammatory and mental health sequelae of COVID-19 in Veterans. To address COVID-19’s inflammatory and neuropsychiatric effects, oxytocin has been proposed as a possible treatment strategy. Thus, the presentation will also introduce the hypothesis that oxytocin’s potent systemic anti-inflammatory effects and restorative mechanisms may accelerate the recovery of COVID-19 induced psychiatric and cognitive effects. Given that there may be long-term mental health consequences of COVID-19, including depression, insomnia, anxiety, irritability, fatigue, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it is important to understand how the inflammatory effects of COVID-19 can contribute to persistent neuropsychiatric impairments.