Brain fog is affecting thousands of COVID-19 patients, impeding their ability to work and function in daily life.

Iran Press/America: 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, The New York Times reported.

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,” she said.

“It scares me to think I’m working,” 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 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.

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.

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.

Experts advise people with brain fog to see doctors to rule out other medical conditions and treat remaining physical symptoms.


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