611 W. Union Street
Benson, AZ 85602
(520) 586-0800

member support line
M-F 5pm-8pm
24/7 weekends/holidays

AzCH Nurse Assist Line


611 W. Union Street
Benson, AZ 85602
(520) 586-0800

AzCH Nurse Assist Line


powered by centersite dot net
Medical Disorders
Basic InformationLookupsLatest News
New Hormonal Pill May Boost Outcomes for Older Breast Cancer PatientsHad COVID? Getting Vaccinated Strengthens Your Antibodies to New VariantsU.S. to Pump $400 Million Into Vaccination Programs for Other CountriesPandemic Sent Americans' Blood Pressure Numbers SkywardWere Cancer Patients Neglected in U.S. COVID Vaccine Rollout?Young People Recover Quickly From Rare Heart Side Effect of COVID VaccineMore Evidence That Pandemic Delayed Cancer DiagnosesHigh Heart Rate Linked to Dementia RiskCOVID Vaccine, Testing Demand Overwhelming PharmaciesOmicron Spreading Through Africa Twice as Fast as Delta DidWith Holidays Ahead, COVID Boosters a Must for People With Weak Immune SystemsKeep Your Holidays Allergy-Free This YearDo Immune-Based Cancer Drugs Work Better in Men?Gene Found in Amish Helps Protect Their HeartsOmicron May Overcome Prior COVID InfectionWindy Days Are Safer Days When It Comes to COVID-19Most Vaccinated Adults Plan to Get Boosters: PollStudy Finds Delta Somewhat Resistant to Vaccines — What About Omicron?Is the Mumps Vaccine Becoming Less Effective?Vaping Can Trigger Gene Changes in Cells: StudyPfizer or Moderna? Head-to-Head Study Shows One Shot Has an EdgeSurvivors of Severe COVID Face Doubled Risk for Death a Year LaterKids With Uncontrolled Asthma at Higher Odds for Severe COVID-19Nearly 7% of U.S. Kids Have Had a Head Injury or ConcussionFirst U.S. Omicron Case Reported in California'Ultra-Processed' Foods Up Odds for a Second Heart Attack or StrokeCDC to Toughen COVID Testing for International TravelersAHA News: Irregular Heartbeat Risk Linked to Frequent Alcohol Use in People Under 40Certain Blood Thinners Can Raise Risk of 'Delayed' Bleeding After Head InjuryFDA Panel Gives Support to Merck's COVID Antiviral PillLong-Haul COVID Can Include Chronic Fatigue: StudyVaccines, Boosters Should Protect Against Severe COVID, Even With Omicron: FauciPfizer to Seek FDA Approval of Boosters for Teens Ages 16-17Regeneron Says Its Antibody Cocktail Likely Weakened by Omicron VariantCOVID May Trigger Heart Condition in Young AthletesMany People With High Blood Pressure May Take a Drug That Worsens It: StudyBiden Pushes Vaccines, Masks as Best Defense Against Omicron VariantHow Easily Can Singing Spread COVID-19?New Insights Into What Might Drive Parkinson's DiseaseHot Days Can Send Even Younger Folks to the ERRed Light in Morning May Protect Fading Eyesight: StudyMerck's COVID Pill Appears Effective, But May Pose Pregnancy Risks: FDAVaccine Makers Already Testing Their Shots Against Omicron VariantWhat Experts Know About the Omicron 'Variant of Concern'Gout Drug Colchicine Won't Help Fight COVID-19What You Need to Know About Stomach CancerFetal Infection With COVID-19 Possible, But UnlikelyCOVID Protection Wanes After 2 Doses of Pfizer Vaccine: StudyRural Hospitals' ERs Just as Effective as Urban Ones: Study1 in 5 Avoided Health Care During Pandemic, Study Finds
Questions and AnswersLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Men's Health
Women's Health

Recovering COVID Patients Often Face Long-Term 'Brain Fog'

HealthDay News
by By Amy Norton HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Oct 25th 2021

new article illustration

MONDAY, Oct. 25, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Even months after beating COVID-19, many people still suffer memory lapses, difficulty concentrating and other symptoms of "brain fog," a new study shows.

Researchers found that such symptoms were prevalent seven months after a COVID diagnosis -- in both patients who'd been severely ill and hospitalized, and in those who'd managed a mild case at home.

Along with the endurance of the brain fog, what's striking is that many patients were relatively young and healthy, said lead researcher Jacqueline Becker, a neuropsychologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York City.

Their average age was 49, and most were free of health conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.

The study, published Oct. 22 in the journal JAMA Network Open, is the latest look at the mystery of "long COVID" -- a collection of persistent symptoms that plague people long after they've beaten the infection. Most puzzling is the fact that long COVID turns up even in people who'd only been mildly ill.

Becker and her colleagues assessed 740 patients with a history of COVID-19 who were being followed up through a Mount Sinai registry. On average, they were over seven months past their bout of COVID.

Yet lingering cognitive symptoms were common -- including impairments on tests of attention, memory and mental processing speed.

Patients who'd been hospitalized were more affected: Over one-third showed impairment on various memory tests, while more than one-quarter had problems with executive functioning -- mental skills, like planning and organization, that people routinely use to accomplish daily tasks.

Among people who'd managed their COVID infection at home, between 12% and 16% still had memory or executive functioning impairments.

In daily life, Becker said, those kinds of deficits might show up as difficulty concentrating or making mistakes at work, for instance.

Dr. Lawrence Purpura, who was not involved in the study, established a long COVID clinic at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, in New York City.

He said it's not surprising that some COVID patients would have longer-term problems related to the illness.

Doctors know, for instance, that people who are seriously ill in the hospital can develop "post-ICU syndrome" -- a collection of symptoms ranging from muscle weakness and fatigue, to cognitive issues, to post-traumatic stress. And since SARS-CoV-2 is a respiratory virus, some degree of lingering breathing problems can be expected.

What is surprising, Purpura said, is the prevalence of long COVID among people who were mildly ill with the infection.

In their own research, he and his colleagues have found that patients who had mild cases are almost as likely to report at least one neurological long COVID symptom as those who were severely ill.

And while brain fog is one issue, long COVID includes a wide breadth of symptoms, including fatigue, headaches, joint pain, heart palpitations and gastrointestinal problems.

Researchers are still working to understand what mechanisms are driving it all, according to Purpura.

"Our best hypothesis is that it involves an over-activation of the immune system," he said.

Becker agreed that such over-activation, resulting in widespread inflammation in the body, could be at work.

What does recovery from brain fog look like? It will take time, Becker said, for researchers to understand how often people get better on their own, or figure out how to manage a 'new normal," for instance. Further study, she said, will also hopefully lead to more targeted ways to help patients in their recovery.

Purpura said that in his experience, he has seen patients who gradually improve over a matter of months. Another common scenario, he said, is that patients have relapses, where a trigger -- perhaps mentally overtaxing themselves -- causes their cognitive symptoms to flare for a time.

So, learning how to pace yourself is one part of managing post-COVID cognitive symptoms.

Becker encouraged people with lingering post-COVID symptoms to talk to their doctor. One reason, she noted, is that there could be specific causes for some of those problems: In some cases, for instance, memory issues and other cognitive symptoms can be related to depression.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on long COVID.

SOURCES: Jacqueline Becker, Ph.D., neuropsychologist, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City; Lawrence Purpura, M.D., division of infectious diseases, NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, New York City; JAMA Network Open, Oct. 22, 2021, online