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Sinusitis Activity Linked to Brain Dysfunction

Apr 13, 2021 6:02 pm

Have you wondered why fibromyalgia, fatigue or cognitive dysfunction often co-associate with chronic sinusitis?

A case-control study of 22 patients with chronic rhinosinusitis published in JAMA Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery found that sinonasal inflammation was associated with decreased brain connectivity within the frontoparietal network, a major functional hub and may be the basis for cognitive dysfunction seen in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis.

Researchers matched 22 patients with sinonasal inflammation with age-matched and sex-matched healthy controls. Patients were excluded if they had a history of diabetes, psychiatric disorder and/or neurological or genetic diseases. Patients were assessed by neuroimaging for functional brain connectivity (Fc) and batteries of test for cognitive function. 

Patients with sinonasal inflammation showed decreased Fc within the frontoparietal network (frontal medial cortices). The magnitude of change increased with (sinus) inflammation severity.

While decreased functional connectivity in the frontoparietal network is important to cognition, Fc changes did not correlate with cognitive testing.

This early proof of concept study potentially links higher brain dysfunction to chronic rhinosinusitis and nasal inflammation.  The clinical applicability of these findings requires further investigation. 

The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose related to this subject

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