Covid-19 : the CRNL is mobilizing!

Covid-19 - Crédits photo Inserm / Camille Henry

The CRNL teams have mobilized against Covid-19 around 4 major research themes: olfaction, sleep, mental health and pain. New studies have emerged to understand the neurobiological mechanisms of the virus but also the consequences of containment.


In the field of olfaction:

- Moustafa Bensafi and Camille Ferdenzi (NEUROPOP CRNL) are conducting a study to better understand the loss of smell that affects many Covid-19 patients. A database of participants is being compiled:

They received funding through the IDEX-Lyon Covid-19 call for projects for their CORODORAT project. One of the most striking symptoms of Covid-19 is loss of smell and taste. The CORODORAT project aims to accurately characterize these sensory disturbances and their consequences on patients' quality of life, using large-scale questionnaires combined with psychophysical tests in clinical settings. These advances will not only provide strategies to help diagnose Covid-19, but also improve the quality of life by helping to recover smell.…

- Moustafa Bensafi, Anne Didier, Camille Ferdenzi, Arnaud Fournel, Nathalie Mandairon, Jane Plailly, Marion Richard, Catherine Rouby, Anne-Lise Saive, Patricia Viret (CMO CRNL, ENES CRNL, NEUROPOP CRNL) participated in the creation of the Odorat-info website, coordinated by CRNL. On this site you will find general information on smell and a link to a survey “Quality of life and loss of smell and taste during the COVID-19 health crisis”.

Collective of authors with Bensafi M, Ferdenzi C. More Than Smell-COVID-19 Is Associated With Severe Impairment of Smell, Taste, and Chemesthesis. Chem Senses. 2020 Oct 9;45(7):609-622. doi: 10.1093/chemse/bjaa041. PMID: 32564071

Pierron D, Pereda-Loth V, Mantel M, Moranges M, Bignon E, Alva O, Kabous J, Heiske M, Pacalon J, David R, Dinnella C, Spinelli S, Monteleone E, Farruggia MC, Cooper KW, Sell EA, Thomas-Danguin T, Bakke AJ, Parma V, Hayes JE, Letellier T, Ferdenzi C, Golebiowski J, Bensafi M. COVID-19 pandemic and political decision effectiveness. Nat Commun. 2020 Oct 14;11(1):5152. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-18963-y. PMID: 33056983


In the field of attention:

- Aurélie Bidet-Caulet (PAM CRNL) is currently conducting a study on "containment, attention and distractibility". The objective of the questionnaire is to evaluate the possible impact of lock-down on our life habits and attentional abilities. It is intended for French speakers living in France.

It was designed by Aurélie Bidet-Caulet and her collaborators.

To participate in this study : Containment, Attention and Distractibility


In the field of sleep:

- Perrine Ruby (PAM CRNL) is currently conducting a study on “Containment, Sleep and Dreams”. The objective of the questionnaire is to assess the potential impact of containment and curfew on life, sleep and dream habits. It is intended for francophones living in France. It was designed by Perrine Ruby and her collaborators.

Confinement, Sommeil et Rêves (

- Perrine Ruby also spoke about this study on France culture, to listen to the podcast:

Confinement/Déconfinement : quel impact sur notre sommeil et nos rêves ? (

- Claude Gronfier (WAKING CRNL) is currently conducting a study on “the effect of confinement on sleep and biological rhythms.” After having invited to participate in the study during the 1st confinement (in spring and summer time), the team has just launched the 4th phase of the «autumn» study. This second confinement gives them the opportunity to assess whether its impact on sleep and rhythms changes with the season and/or the time difference from solar time (summer/winter time). To participate in this study:…


In the field of mental health:

- Through local, national and international collaborations, the PSYR2 CRNL team has carried out two types of action in relation to the current health situation. On the one hand, the team carried out a systematic review of the literature aimed at objectifying the association between suicidal behaviour and emerging viral outbreaks in the context of epidemics prior to COVID-19. On the other hand, using an online survey of more than 11'000 participants, the team identified several determinants of mental health impairment during the first confinement and measured the impact on addictive behaviours in France. Both types of action identified vulnerable populations (including students), to warn public authorities about the risks to mental health of the epidemic and to put in place appropriate responses at the local level, such as the LIVE platform which provides information and guidance on mental health, accessible 7/7, from 8 am to 8 pm at 04 37 91 55 99 or

Leaune E, Samuel M, Oh H, Poulet E, Brunelin J. Suicidal behaviors and ideation during emerging viral disease outbreaks before the COVID-19 pandemic: A systematic rapid review. Preventive Medicine. 2020;141:106264. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2020.106264.

Haesebaert F, Haesebaert J, Zante E, Franck N. Who maintains good mental health in a locked-down country? A French nationwide online survey of 11,391 participants. Health Place. 2020 Nov;66:102440. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2020.102440. Epub 2020 Sep 15.

Rolland B, Haesebaert F, Zante E, Benyamina A, Haesebaert J, Franck N. Global Changes and Factors of Increase in Caloric/Salty Food Intake, Screen Use, and Substance Use During the Early COVID-19 Containment Phase in the General Population in France: Survey Study. JMIR Public Health Surveill. 2020 Sep 18;6(3):e19630. doi: 10.2196/19630.

Flaudias V, Zerhouni O, Pereira B, Cherpitel CJ, Boudesseul J, de Chazeron I, Romo L, Guillaume S, Samalin L, Cabe J, Bègue L, Gerbaud L, Rolland B, Llorca PM, Maasila M and Brousse G. The Early Impact of the COVID-19 Lockdown onStress and Addictive Behabiors in an Alcohol-Consuming Student Population in France. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 2021 Feb 9; vol 12, article 628631. Doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2021.628631.


In the field of pain:

- At the Pain Center at Bron Neurological Hospital (HCL), Luis Garcia-Larrea and his team (NEUROPAIN CRNL) studied from March to May 2020 the impact of confinement on chronic painful patients who lost consultations or therapeutic actions during the first confinement. It is a "research action" via telephone contact on a small cohort of patients.