Mental Health: Pandemics, Epidemics and Tau Protein

Ghinwa M. Barakat1, Ghaith Assi2, Noura B. El Khoury1, *
1 Department of Biological and Chemical Sciences, School of Arts and Sciences, Lebanese International University, Beirut, Lebanon
2 Department of Neuroscience, Gilbert and Rose-Marie Chagoury School of Medicine, Lebanese American University, Beirut, Lebanon

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© 2023 Barakat et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Biological and Chemical Sciences, School of Arts and Sciences, Lebanese International University, Beirut, Lebanon; E-mail:



It is well established that a wide range of psychological disorders are influenced by the way people live, with lifestyle-related factors playing a substantial role. During the past decade, the effects of major disasters on mental health have drawn a lot of attention.


In this review, we compare clinical studies reporting a link between COVID-19 and other pandemics and mental health. Importantly, we also shed light on Tau protein and neurotransmitters as neurobiological factors that might explain this link.


Athorough PubMed search was done to gather and summarize published data on the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on mental health. Additionally, these studies were compared to previous research published on PubMed, triggering other pandemic and epidemic impacts on mental health.


The COVID-19 epidemic has had the biggest impact on raising awareness about mental health. Moreover, the past century has seen an increase in the frequency of disease outbreaks like MERS-CoV, Ebola, and Influenza, which all had an impact on mental health. However, the exact role of these epidemics on mental health and brain functions is poorly understood.


Future research on the underlying pathways may yield essential information for the treatment and prevention of prospective mental diseases in light of the ongoing decline in mental health during the past 10 years.

Keywords: Mental health, Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, COVID-19, Pandemics/Epidemics, Tau, Neurotransmitters.