Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Study Shows SARS Can Infect Brain Tissue

September 15, 2005
Infectious Diseases Society of America
Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), by its very name, indicates a disease of the respiratory tract. But SARS can also infiltrate brain tissue, causing significant central nervous system problems, according to an article in the Oct. 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, now available online.

Related Articles

SARS, a potentiallyfatal illness caused by a coronavirus, was first reported in Asia inFebruary of 2003. The disease is usually transmitted by contact withcoronavirus-laden droplets sprayed into the air by an infected person’scoughing. Other symptoms can include high fever, headache, body aches,and pneumonia. However, some patients also exhibit central nervoussystem ailments. In a new study, the researchers report the case of a39-year-old doctor who treated SARS patients in China during the 2003outbreak and became infected himself.

He showed the usualsymptoms of SARS--fever, chills, headache, muscle pain--but afterhospitalization, he developed vision problems, then progressively worsecentral nervous system symptoms, like restlessness and delirium. Acomputed tomography scan indicated brain damage. He died about a monthafter being hospitalized, and his brain tissue was examined and foundto contain the SARS coronavirus. The researchers also discovered a highlevel of Mig, a type of immune system regulator called a chemokine, inthe man’s bloodstream and brain, which may have resulted from thecentral nervous system infection. The researchers speculated that Migcould also have contributed to his brain damage by attractingimmunological cells to the site of the viral infection in the brain,where their inflammatory effects may have done more harm than good.

Thereare a few possibilities for curbing Mig’s possible role in causingbrain damage in SARS patients with central nervous system infection,according to lead author Jun Xu, PhD, of the Guangzhou Institute ofRespiratory Diseases and senior author Yong Jiang, PhD, of the KeyLaboratory of Functional Proteomics of Guangdong Province. “There mightbe some ways of controlling the release of Mig, such as specificinhibitors that interfere [with] the signaling pathways involved,” Dr.Jiang said. “Other approaches, such as neutralizing antibodies [and]specific binding peptides, could be tried to block brain damage inducedby Mig.”

Four to five percent of SARS patients treated at theGuangzhou Institute of Respiratory Diseases experienced central nervoussystem symptoms, said Dr. Xu; therefore, physicians need to be aware ofthe potential for brain infection when evaluating patients with thedisease. Immunosuppressive drugs should be administered carefully andon an individual basis, as they may allow amplification of the SARScoronavirus in the brain. “Superinfection” with other pathogens couldalso contribute to SARS’ harmful effects on the brain. “Physiciansshould pay more attention to the prevention of brain damage if [SARSpatients] are superinfected with other conditional pathogens,”according to Dr. Xu and Dr. Jiang.


Founded in 1979,Clinical Infectious Diseases publishes clinical articles twice monthlyin a variety of areas of infectious disease, and is one of the mosthighly regarded journals in this specialty. It is published under theauspices of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA). Based inAlexandria, Virginia, IDSA is a professional society representing about8,000 physicians and scientists who specialize in infectious diseases.For more information, visit www.idsociety.org.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Infectious Diseases Society of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Cite This Page:

Infectious Diseases Society of America. "New Study Shows SARS Can Infect Brain Tissue." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 September 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050915002938.htm>.
Infectious Diseases Society of America. (2005, September 15). New Study Shows SARS Can Infect Brain Tissue. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050915002938.htm
Infectious Diseases Society of America. "New Study Shows SARS Can Infect Brain Tissue." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050915002938.htm (accessed January 26, 2015).

Share This

More From ScienceDaily

More Mind & Brain News

Monday, January 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

Newsy (Jan. 25, 2015) — More schools are using online classes to keep from losing time to snow days, but it only works if students have Internet access at home. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

BuzzFeed (Jan. 24, 2015) — Did you back it up? Do you even know how to do that? Video provided by BuzzFeed
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) — A Boston start-up is developing a wristband they say will help users break bad habits by jolting them with an electric shock. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amazing Technology Allows Blind Mother to See Her Newborn Son

Amazing Technology Allows Blind Mother to See Her Newborn Son

RightThisMinute (Jan. 23, 2015) — Not only is Kathy seeing her newborn son for the first time, but this is actually the first time she has ever seen a baby. Kathy and her sister, Yvonne, have been legally blind since childhood, but thanks to an amazing new technology, eSight glasses, which gives those who are legally blind the ability to see, she got the chance to see the birth of her son. It&apos;s an incredible moment and an even better story. Video provided by RightThisMinute
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.


Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News


Free Subscriptions

Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile

Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?

Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins