Questions about Covid brain fog

Does “Covid brain fog” happen even in mild or almost-no-symptom cases?

When it happens is it typically permanent or the patient recovers full brain function within months?

Is it severe enough that you lose common sense, ie, if a person asks you a question like “What’s your Social Security number” you won’t be smart enough to know you shouldn’t give out info like that?

Does anyone qualify for disability with such a condition?

Don’t know firsthand, but from the people I know who say they have this symptom (or have had it), it’s difficulty with word-finding, difficulty keeping focused on what you intended to do, especially if you have a multi-item “to do” list in your head, and some problems trying to do simple math they could normally do without a pen or a computer. No one has said they worry that their judgment feels like it’s impaired.

I know one person who says most (she’s still reluctant to say “all”) of the brain fog went away eventually, and a second person who says it seems to be permanent for her (two years in at this point, plus-minus).

Wait, is there a way to test for COVID brain fog? Because my 85-year-old mother had covid a couple of months ago and is seemingly forgetful lately. My sister-in-law was afraid she was in the early stages of dementia. Brain fog sounds less scary (because it’s recoverable).

(Though covid brain fog also sounds like the thing that Tom Hanks’ character had in Joe Vs. the Volcano.)

I wonder if the effects and duration are age-related. I had it in October (mild, I guess - felt like a bad sinus infection, and very tired) and I definitely had the brain fog a few days prior and for about a month during/after. I’m 43.

I distinctly remember saying some really confusing things in chats with my friends before I tested positive. Afterwards I had trouble finding the right words, and I also had trouble focusing in tai chi, doing moves I’ve been doing for 5 years without trouble.

My cousin, 30, had it bad enough to be in a coma and on a vent and all that stuff. He recovered and had some lingering phsyical effects but he never really complained about brain fog. He was back at his at-home IT job not long after getting home from the hospital.

I can definitely see it lingering longer in more mature brains, which are naturally going to develop cognitive decline. Especially if you’re not engaging in activities that keep your brain active, like my cousin and I do with our work.

As for official diagnosis and disability, I am not sure. I would suspect one would need to be tested for plain old cognitive decline, not necessarily related to covid.

My step-brother has had recurrent brain fog and fatigue symptoms since his mild case of COVID-19 about a year ago. Bad enough that he cut himself back to part-time on his retirement job and is resigning entirely by the end of the year.

Not in his case. It mostly affects his ability to concentrate while under stress. Days he’s off work, he’s more or less fine. I saw him around Thanksgiving and he seemed perfectly normal. It’s when he really has to deal with work issues that he starts having problems concentrating, thinking straight and generally feeling badly worn out by the end of the day. This is even while working remotely. It’s the high-level technical engagement that seems to tax him, not everyday functioning.

But I understand the severity can vary.

I don’t think so. My sibling has been tested for everything under the sun and they can’t even definitively blame COVID - the evidence is purely circumstantial, though highly suspicious in terms of timing. And he works in a world-class medical research facility and has very good insurance, so it is not like his care has been substandard. It’s even possible it is normal (for him) aging, but THAT seems highly unlikely as he is only in his late 50’s.

Here’s how one study on the topic defined it:

For the purpose of this study, we defined “brain fog” as “concentration difficulty” and a worse status in the “ability to concentrate and think” (both items in Supporting Information Appendix S1 should be declared by the patient for securing an increased accuracy of the collected data since it is a subjective feeling).
Long COVID syndrome‐associated brain fog - PMC