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Brain Fog From Long Covid Is Similar To ‘Chemo Brain’ After Cancer Therapy


Brain fog, a symptom of long-haul covid-19 or long covid, has been compared to chemo brain, the cognitive impairment that can occur after chemotherapy treatment for cancer, according to new research.

Chemo brain is not limited to people who get chemotherapy. Surgery and radiation can also contribute, but it is more noticeable if you’ve had chemotherapy.

Covid-19 not only can lead to severe respiratory problems, but also to long covid syndrome associated primarily with cognitive dysfunction and fatigue.

People who had covid-19 can “experience persisting neurological symptoms like impairment in attention, concentration, speed of information processing and memory,” similar to patients with cancer therapy-related cognitive impairment that is known to involve inflammation of the brain, according to the researchers in a report published on bioRxiv for peer review.

The best way to get a complete picture of your cognitive functioning is to have neuropsychological testing.

There are cases of sleeplessness and other neurological ailments among long haulers, and these symptoms should not be discounted, even when they sound less severe, according to Dr. Christian Sandrock, an infectious disease and critical care expert at UC Davis.

“In healthcare, some employees who experience long haul are dealing with physical manifestation of brain fog. Health care employees can’t work with that,” said Dr. Sandrock.

Researchers found evidence of inflammation in the brains of patients who died of covid-19, along with high levels of inflammatory proteins. One such protein, CCL11, is linked with impairments in the nervous system’s health and cognitive function.

High CCL11 levels were found in 48 people with lingering cognitive symptoms, but not in the 15 without cognitive issues in research carried out among 63 patients with long covid.

They speculate that treatments showing promise for cancer therapy-related cognitive impairment might be helpful for covid-19 patients with similar problems, but they would need to be tested for long covid.

A small experimental device designed to be attached to clothing may be able to tell whether the wearer has been exposed to SARS-CoV-2 particles in the air, according to researchers.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

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