It’s a pandemic mystery: Initially mild or asymptomatic COVID-19 cases that launch a “stubborn and complex array of symptoms” that can ebb and flow for months.
A Northwestern Memorial Hospital long COVID clinic published findings from a studyof 100 patients from 21 states, The New York Times reports. Among the relatively young cohort:
- 85% experienced 4+ neurological issues like brain fog, headaches, tingling, muscle pain and dizziness.
- Symptoms are often akin to traumatic brain injuries or side effects of chemotherapy.
What causes it? The researchers believe an inflammatory reaction to the disease impacts the brain—and having one neurological problem often means having several.
But: Lacking a clear diagnostic definition, media reporting on this mysterious condition has perhaps inadvertently muddled long COVID with what may be other physical or psychosocial effects of the pandemic—which also deserve attention, writes physician Adam W. Gaffney in a STAT commentary.
“We should expect a surge in both mental anguish and physical suffering that, while connected to the once-in-a-century pandemic, will not always be directly connected to SARS-COV-2 itself,” Gaffney writes.