Brain Fog

Brain Fog is starting to be discussed more and more because a lot of COVID survivors have experienced short episodes that they are able to describe once it clears. What they describe is exactly what Paula experienced for 18 months till it cleared. What they say is much like what Kraepelin observed in his depressive insane patients…..but they were affected for months, years or decades. New York Times   I feel like I have dementia; Brain Fog Plagues CoVid Survivors

Have these patients experienced changes to their respiratory rate after their infection? Are they having difficulty exchanging enough air? Are they having unknown, unconscious, hidden difficulties moving air in and out of their body? Perhaps due to injuries to the neck, torso, nerve fibres, muscles of the skeletal respiratory pump system ? Because of the virus and/or because of the treatments that saved them? Once we know the answer to this question we have 21st century solutions to help! BUT not if we do not measure their respiratory rates at rest when awake and then measure their tidal volume to get their minute respiration; this will tell us how much air per minute at rest they are exchanging. They may no longer have the flexibility to manage their acid base blood levels.

Perhaps these people are experiencing fleeting periods of respiratory pump failure?

Perhaps they should count their breathing rate at rest when awake for a full minute with a stopwatch. Or, if they cannot manage this, they should ask a friend. [it is hard to do when you are the one affected -you tend to loose count ]

They should look for signs of active exhaling, signs of bulbar palsy- difficulty producing the words, reluctance to eat [may be due to unconscious and hidden swallowing issues, sensations of stiffness, etc….isolated or continuous periods of respiratory failure can follow and will be extremely unpleasant and upsetting, beyond the sensation of anguish which cannot be described and is far worse than anxiety.

What these survivors of this virus describe is much like what Paula describes about her experience with Brain Fog.

After contracting the coronavirus in March, Michael Reagan lost all memory of his 12-day vacation in Paris, even though the trip was just a few weeks earlier.

Several weeks after Erica Taylor recovered from her Covid-19 symptoms of nausea and cough, she became confused and forgetful, failing to even recognize her own car, the only Toyota Prius in her apartment complex’s parking lot.

Lisa Mizelle, a veteran nurse practitioner at an urgent care clinic who fell ill with the virus in July, finds herself forgetting routine treatments and lab tests, and has to ask colleagues about terminology she used to know automatically.……..“I leave the room and I can’t remember what the patient just said.

It scares me to think I’m working,” Ms. Mizelle, 53, said. “I feel like I have dementia.”

It’s becoming known as Covid brain fog: troubling cognitive symptoms that can include memory loss, confusion, difficulty focusing, dizziness and grasping for everyday words. Increasingly, Covid survivors say brain fog is impairing their ability to work and function normally.

There are thousands of people who have that,” said Dr. Igor Koralnik, chief of neuro-infectious disease at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago, who has already seen hundreds of survivors at a post-Covid clinic he leads. “The impact on the work force that’s affected is going to be significant.

Scientists aren’t sure what causes brain fog, which varies widely and affects even people who became only mildly physically ill from Covid-19 and had no previous medical conditions. Leading theories are that it arises when the body’s immune response to the virus doesn’t shut down or from inflammation in blood vessels leading to the brain.

Confusion, delirium and other types of altered mental function, called encephalopathy, have occurred during hospitalization for Covid-19 respiratory problems, and a study found such patients needed longer hospitalizations, had higher mortality rates and often couldn’t manage daily activities right after hospitalization.

But research on long-lasting brain fog is just beginning. A French report in August on 120 patients who had been hospitalized found that 34 percent had memory loss and 27 percent had concentration problems months later.

In a soon-to-be-published survey of 3,930 members of Survivor Corps, a group of people who have connected to discuss life after Covid, over half reported difficulty concentrating or focusing, said Natalie Lambert, an associate research professor at Indiana University School of Medicine, who helped lead the study. It was the fourth most common symptom out of the 101 long-term and short-term physical, neurological and psychological conditions that survivors reported. Memory problems, dizziness or confusion were reported by a third or more respondents.

“It is debilitating,” said Rick Sullivan, 60, of Brentwood, Calif., who’s had episodes of brain fog since July after overcoming a several-week bout with Covid-19 breathing problems and body aches. “I become almost catatonic. It feels as though I am under anesthesia.”


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