Long covid brain fog research project participants required for online study: please circulate

our world in data

The COVID-19 pandemic has had huge effects across the world, infecting more 40 million people, and resulting in the deaths of over 1.4 million people. It has caused major changes to the ways we live, work, play, socialise. We are lucky that several vaccines have been developed and tested so quickly, and with such positive outcomes – a testament to the good things that humans can do when we work together. There will be major public health logistics and information campaigns to support vaccine rollout, and the rolling back of the pandemic is now within sight in 2021. Hilda Bastian provides excellent vaccine coverage here, and the biomedical research charity, the Wellcome Trust, does so here, and here; and here is an excellent covid-myth-busting piece from Scientific American’s Tanya Lewis. And go here for some detailed coverage of the safety profile of one of the vaccines by Science; and here for details on how one of the vaccines works.

It is likely cumulative infections will continue to rise across the world for months to come – 7+ billion doses just can’t be administered that quickly.

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Sadly, many post-covid patients have continuing mild, moderate, or severe health consequences continuing well past the acute stages of infection. Many superb articles have appeared in mainstream media detailing what is now called ‘long covid’ (e.g. these pieces by the renowned science writers, Ed Yong, and Matt Reynolds).

There have been several important early pieces in various peer-reviewed scientific journals: I particularly recommend this sharp piece by Barbara Wilson and colleagues on the neuropsychological consequences of Covid-19; surveying the available evidence, they conclude that ‘…many survivors of Covid-19 are likely to require neuropsychological assessment and rehabilitation’. Karen Ritchie and colleagues survey the ‘cognitive consequences of the COVID-19 epidemic, suggesting a particular worry is an increased ‘probability of post-infection memory impairment, and acceleration of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease’. There are many other worrying reports: some examples are hereherehere, and here.

We would be grateful if you could share this newsletter widely to anyone you know who might interested. The long covid research survey is here.

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This situation is so new – we simply need more data. We want to contribute to the ongoing research effort: there will be many who will suffer symptoms for some time to come, and those symptoms will perhaps not even remit, even with further medical care.

Preliminary studies show that symptoms such as extreme fatigue; cough, or shortness of breath; continued loss of taste or smell; headaches and body aches; chest pain, and confusion or ‘brain fog’ can persist in individuals for extended periods of time.

We would be grateful if you could share this newsletter widely to anyone you know who might interested. The long covid research survey is here.

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Our interest is particularly in ‘brain fog’ – the feelings of loss of cognitive clarity, fatigue, and related symptoms that happen post-infection. We will collect data from several self-reported questionnaires of post-covid patients. This method has its limitations – but the web allows us to collect vast amounts of crowd-sourced data, and we hope these data will open some new future research directions for long-covid patients.

We would be grateful if you could share this newsletter widely to anyone you know who might interested. The long covid research survey is here.

We will report the data analysis from the survey in due course, and will provide links to the final report here in this newsletter also – you can signup via the button below to receive this newsletter and the research updates when they are available.

Author: Shane O'Mara

Neuroscientist, Psychologist, Writer

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