‘Brain fog’: what is known about the most common symptom of long covid

Almost three years after the first identification of the SARS-CoV-2 It is clear that it is a typical “respiratory” virus, but it has also been shown that a coronavirus infection can leave sequelae in many systems and organs, including the brain. In fact, in recent reviews of medical literature it has been observed that the 36% of patients have reported some type of condition neurological, from headaches and dizziness, encephalitis, ACV’s or Guillain-Barré syndrome. One of the most common are alterations in cognition, which are informally called “fog”. or mental “fog”.

About this theme PROFILE I interview the doctor Greg Vanichkachorndirector of Program of Post-Covid Rehabilitation of the Mayo Clinic in the United States.

As Vanichkachorn explained, “brain fog it is a very common symptom among those affected by the ‘long covid’. In our professional experience in said group almost 50% of the cases reports being affected in some way by this mist.”

Another point is that, although Covid threatened the elderly above all, the group most affected by prolonged covid and its neurological sequelae is younger: “The average age of our patients is younger than the age groups that we would normally associate with the consequences of serious infections. The average age we treat at the Mayo Clinic for these issues is 45 years old”.

Specifically, there are three common situations that afflict them. The first is a speech disorder, the difficulty in finding the “right” word.

“They usually describe it as a feeling of having the word on the tip of their tongue, but being unable to say it. It’s frustrating and makes communication difficult.”

The second most common complaint is short-term memory impairment. “We mean that he goes into his room to look for something and they no longer remember what they wanted.” Finally, the third situation is the “impossibility of doing several things at the same time”.

“Is there any treatment?”

Yes, long covid can be treated. It is worth remembering that there may be various manifestations: headache or muscle pain, insomnia or inflammation. Those symptoms can be managed. We have options for many conditions, so that these patients get better. On the other hand, there is ongoing research for more specific treatments. For example, we are using, with some success, drugs like naltrexone.

Vanichkachorn ended by recommending that “patients do proper rehabilitation after having covid with sequelae. We usually recommend physical and occupational therapists, who help gradually recover lost skills.

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