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The knowledge of the impact of COVID-19 on the brain is rapidly accumulating and this is reflected in the increasing use of the term 'neuro-COVID'. The involvement of the Central and Peripheral Nervous System has been already observed in SARS patients, but SARS-COV-2 appears to be more aggressive than other coronaviruses. A neuroinflammatory mechanism may underlie the neuronal dysfunction, triggered by a complex interaction between the virus and the human host. According to some investigations, more than 37% of COVID-19 patients show neurological symptoms even after recovery, such as: confusion, dizziness, headaches, loss of sense of smell and taste, dysphasia, and a reduction in visual acuity. Other complications include cerebrovascular accidents or strokes, and convulsions. Involvement of the Peripheral Nervous System with polyneuropathies, such as Guillain-Barré syndrome, or Miller-Fisher syndrome, has also been observed. Moreover, the COVID-19 infection negatively affected mental health: anxiety, depression, pandemic fatigue, and cognitive impairment are now recognized among the long-term consequences. Finally, the neurological, neuropsychological, and psychosocial impact on COVID-19 on patients with pre-existing brain disorders are issues especially important for practicing clinical neuropsychologist.

This Research Topic provides an innovative overview of the ever-expanding understanding of the multiple ways in which COVID-19 affects the human brain, triggering long-term sequelae and their implications for cognitive function and behaviour, and quality of life of affected individuals. Our main aim is to present the current research effort to address the challenges in better understanding neuro-COVID and the role of neurology and neuropsychology in solving them. Emphasis will be placed on neuroanatomical circuits and mechanisms of neurochemical modulation and their impact on human subjects with COVID-19, integrating a variety of research methods: behavioural, neuropsychophysiological, psychopharmacological, computational and neuroimaging.

The neuropsychological and psychosocial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will be addressed considering both patients with pre-existing brain disorders and normal subjects. Additionally, since highly specialized neurorehabilitation helps to improve patients’ recovery, the Research Topic aims to verify the state of the art of neurorehabilitation in a public health and system sustainability perspective as well.


Authors can submit papers around the following (but not limited to) topics:

·      Brain as the target of COVID-19;

·      Direct vs indirect mechanisms of brain damage in COVID-19;

·      Primary mechanisms of brain infection: transsynaptic vs hematogenous;

·      Diagnostic criteria for neuro-COVID;

·      Neurological sequalae;

·      Cognitive dysfunctions and mood alterations associated with COVID-19 infection;

·      Neuropsychological and psychosocial impact on COVID-19 on patients with pre-existing brain disorders: acute and late effects;

·      Neurological and neuropsychological side effects of drug treatment;

·      Pandemic fatigue;

·      Neurorehabilitation.

This Research Topic will form a comprehensive platform of discussion from researchers offering different perspectives and insights around this theme. Researchers using various methods are encouraged to contribute especially original empirical research articles. In addition, theoretical reviews and perspective opinions/articles on promising future directions are welcome.

Keywords: COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, mechanisms of brain damage, brain dysfunction, neurology, neuropsychology, neuropsychiatry, cognitive dysfunctions, mood changes, pandemic fatigue, neuroimaging, neurophysiology, diagnostic criteria

Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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