COVID-19 as brain disease

According to this study, COVID-19 is causing longer term neurological problems in a huge percentage of survivors.

When I have more time, I’ll see if I can’t poke some holes in the methodology because I really want this to be crappy research. In the meantime, I posted separately from the breaking news thread as it probably warrants some discussion.

Post covid neurological complaints are common in my patients right now, that’s for sure. I’ve seen well over 2 dozen complaining of being ‘foggy’ and having trouble remembering things like their locker combinations, passcodes, etc. They’re all at least 4 months out from their covid infections, and many also have elevated liver and muscle enzymes.

Good luck poking holes, the Lancet is a pretty top shelf publication.

It wouldn’t be the only virus to have an effect like this.

I’m waiting for the studies in a couple of years for the effects of COVID on embryos and fetuses whose mothers had COVID, or possibly even had asymptomatic COVID while pregnant.

Nothing obvious so far. I was really hoping for something like the “Surgisphere” papers, where the underlying data was unreliable, as I’m aware of the Lancet’s rep.

This is going to really suck for a long time if true.

Can you elaborate on this?

Like, with other viruses, is the effect temporary or permanent?

A lot of viruses that are not thought of as typically invading neural tissue can do so, and when they do, the tissue sometimes does not recover.

Chickenpox, for example. I lived at Gallaudet University for a year, so I’ve met people deaf from just about every cause you could think of, and I know a couple of people who became deaf after a bout of chickenpox. Turns out that chicken pox is generally thought of as benign, but it turns out that while it very rarely invades neural tissue, it can invade the auditory nerve, the optical nerve (even rarer, but there are a few cases). It also appears to be one of the viruses that can cause autonomic neuropathy, a condition where a number of systems that are not under a person’s conscious control-- digestion, blood pressure, pupil dilation, bowel and bladder control. Again, rare, but several viruses can cause this.

I also know of a case where adult chickenpox is blamed for male sterility. The guy had children already, so not born sterile; caught chickenpox from one of the kids, was very ill, because, adult, and couldn’t conceive with his wife afterwards; a sperm count showed that he was sterile. He had no other illnesses, and no injuries to the groin.

The effects of maternal Rubella and Zika are well-documented, and the seriousness of adult mumps, as well as the possibility of measles encephalitis, which usually shows up within six weeks of recovery, but can take several year-- and is always fatal.

I know there’s some research going on now to see if a maternal virus that is asymptomatic in adults might cause some types of autism.

So it’s not unreasonable to wonder what COVID could cause down the road.

Just what the world needs - more stupid people.

It’s been a year since I had suspected Covid and I still get a foggy head occasionally. It’s nothing too terrible but I’ve not been 100% right since then. Really hoping this is not permanent…

Can you elaborate on this?

Yes. The “Spanish 'flu” of 1918-21. That also had neurological effects. Details in the medical publication of your choice, or the ever-helpful Wikipedia.

Some of us still remember MMR vaccination and the role of the Lancet. And the post-hoc justification that they were in competition for readership.

You don’t even have to consider direct viral damage: lots of people have had major hypoxic events with COVID.

Lots of people never fully recover mentally from heart failure events.

Note that by far the #1 brain disease in the study is anxiety/mood disorder.

Kind of hard to “control group” your way to a fair sample on that one. Everyone has heard of COVID. The COVID group is going to REPORT higher levels of anxiety/mood disorder. How do you control for that in a study?

Just wanted to throw my two cents out there I had covid and I’m certain I’m more mentally fucked up than before and my body is breaking down all my joints are popping cracking that never did before etc etc

Also after a year plus of stress and isolation during the pandemic the rates of anxiety and mood disorders (and sleep issues) are higher across the board, not just for people who had covid.

And what is “fogginess” in a post-covid sense that makes it different from how a person who is covid-free but suffering situational depression in reaction to their life being upended feels?


I definitely haven’t had COVID and by and large have had a better pandemic than many who’ve suffered a lot of dislocation. I’m not much emotionally worked up about it either. But I sure feel pre-occupied and forgetful a lot more than I remember I did 18 months ago.

I’m also to an age where another candle on the cake has more impact than it did when I was 25. How much is that a factor, especially since the likelihood of long COVID is also at least a little age-correlated.

Coronavirus particles can reach the brain through the olfactory nerves.

Given that it can ride the nerves into the brain, and once there is not going to sit quietly, some kind of neurological damage is to be expected in those unlucky enough to have the Sars-CoV-2 in their brain tissue. WAG: Any illness can cause neurological symptoms merely by upsetting the body’s normal chemical / hormonal balance. The brain is a complex and delicate organ that is particularly susceptible to imbalances. Case in point: I am definitely not at my mental best when experiencing acid indigestion and bloating.