The effects of COVID-19 brain fog

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“Covid Brain Fog” is a condition that can occur among those who get sick with COVID-19. This brain fog can leave people feeling sluggish and affect their thinking. We talked about it with Dr. Marie Grill of the Mayo Clinic.

Dr. Grill is a neurologist with a specialty interest and expertise in neurological infectious diseases at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Ariz.

COVID-19 brain fog is defined as a subjective sensation of mental fatigue, lack of clarity, and more, according to Grill. Grills calls it a work progress and people are trying to process COVID-19 and brain fog.

“We know most about brain fog from people with long-hauling COVID-19 symptoms,” Grill said. She has seen cognitive symptoms in people who have been critically ill and from people who have more advanced symptoms.

Grill cites that the age group most affected by COVID-19 brain fog are people that are more advanced in age and people who have underlying cognitive issues already. “What’s interesting about COVID-19 is that people who don’t fit into that group are still facing a majority of the symptoms,” she added.

According to a Mount Sinai Hospital study, people who have been hospitalized, are the most likely to have cognitive issues and more pervasive cognitive issues. “This is something that persists for many months. Even in the recent study that was published, the mean was seven months after the infection that people were still experiencing significant symptoms.”

Psychological and mood factors play a huge part in COVID-19 brain fog, Grill mentioned. The fatigue component is the most predominant symptoms in these cases. “The fatigue component can manifest as a physical symptom,” she said.

“We can help to develop cognitive strategies to tailor to cognitive rehab,” she added. “We still have a lot to learn, and we are here to support patients through the journey.

Dr. Marie Grill, M.D., neurologist, Mayo Clinic

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