NEW Deborah Kan EIC Being Patient

Letter From the Editor: The Cognitive Health Clues of Long COVID

By | April 15th, 2024

Being Patient founder and EIC Deborah Kan discusses new and ongoing research into COVID-19 and cognitive health, and talks about what it means for the Alzheimer's research and drug development fields at large.

A friend of mine, who contracted COVID-19 over a year ago, recently told me that he is still struggling with brain fog and complete exhaustion. He said he knows he is not as sharp as he used to be, and it definitely takes him longer to process information.  Now that we are four years past the beginning of the pandemic, scientists are gathering more data around the impact of long COVID — with more evidence that the virus is causing more rapid cognitive aging in some patients — symptoms that aren’t going away — while, possibly, spiking dementia risk.

The research is a looking glass into the impact viruses can have on the brain — and it highlights the need to understand more about a longstanding hypothesis that microbes and germs can cross the blood brain barrier and wreak havoc, potentially even bringing on dementia and other neurological disorders. It’s a topic that advocate Nikki Schultek has written about for Being Patient, calling for collaboration around a new approach after her own bout of Lyme disease led to neurological symptoms mimicking Alzheimer’s.

There is still a lot we don’t understand about the human brain. COVID-19 is an opportunity for scientists to open minds further and look beyond the associated risk factors of age and genetics. If the scientific and drug development communities embraces that there may be different forces fueling neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s, we will be that much closer to connecting the dots on how to treat it.

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