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Covid Brain Fog

COVID BRAIN? That’s a thing? Yes. Within the metaphorical shadow of an ice sheet, “brain fog” has evolved into a comprehensive label, encompassing the intricate cognitive, psychological, and emotional struggles intertwined with long COVID.3D medical animation coronavirus structure

The referenced article shares the story of Kenton Kaplan, a senior in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, showing signs of COVID-related brain symptoms. Ken’s year-long battle with severe memory loss, extreme fatigue, and immunosuppression highlights the diverse experiences enclosed by this term. Despite its recognition as a federally acknowledged disability, individuals reporting “brain fog” face disbelief, hindering their access to necessary accommodations. 

Emily Mendenhall, a medical anthropologist, explored the varied manifestations of long COVID symptoms beyond the popular definition of mild forgetfulness. Interviews with 22 sufferers revealed debilitating episodes, with individuals describing struggles with daily tasks during “brain fog” episodes. These individuals spoke of debilitating days where routine tasks became overwhelming: chronic nerve pain, severe headaches, episodes of dizziness, nausea, and fainting. The disparity between how healthcare professionals perceive “brain fog” and the actual experiences of those affected emphasizes the necessity for clear categorizations that can more effectively address the range and intensity of symptoms. 

Faced with difficulties in securing accommodations, Ken’s ongoing struggles with sporadic memory loss emphasize the importance of acknowledging the complexity of a cloudy consciousness. Clearer names and understanding the various aspects of symptoms could help make medical leave and accommodations more accepted. This support would be beneficial for those dealing with the continued effects of long COVID in their everyday lives.

When the immune system encounters specific pathogens, such as the COVID-19 virus, it relies on the binding action of B cell antigen receptors or antibodies to epitopes on the pathogen for recognition. This recognition serves as a trigger, setting off a cascade of events that activate B cells and stimulate the production of antibodies. These antibodies play a crucial role in safeguarding the body against the virus. This shows how important a strong immune system is in dealing with complicated conditions like long COVID, especially when it comes to cognitive challenges like “brain fog.”

A couple of weeks ago, my mom tested positive for COVID, marking the first time she had ever faced the virus since the beginning of the pandemic. Despite being up to date on all her vaccines, including mRNA shots, which introduce genetic material into cells to prompt the production of viral proteins and trigger the immune system, she still experienced a severe case. Unfortunately, COVID hit her hard, unleashing a wave of symptoms ranging from chills and fever to body aches, a runny nose, and a persistent cough. As if that wasn’t challenging enough, she started experiencing heightened anxiety as she struggled with memory lapses, struggling to recall the day she tested positive, losing track of time, and questioning how long she had been in quarantine. It was a tough period for her, navigating not only the physical toll of the illness but also the mental strain of uncertainty. So, how can we collectively raise awareness about the diverse experiences encapsulated by the term “brain fog” and advocate for better understanding and support?

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  1. benzyme

    Hi Summerculs,
    I have not personally encountered COVID-19 leading to brain fog before, so thank you for sharing your mother’s story. You also recognized the complexity of our immune system that is so important to keep strong to prevent disease symptoms such as brain fog. That got me thinking, though: how exactly does brain fog come from COVID-19 and get through our immune system? According to, through mice research, a human immune cell in the brain, microglia, was discovered to become activated by COVID-19 and stay reactive even weeks after sometimes. A reactive microglia hinders the brain’s ability to make neurons in the hippocampus, which is an area of the brain that is important for learning and memory. Thus, people can experience brain fog when microglia is reactive for a while, even if the respiratory symptoms during their illness were mild.

  2. lagoon1

    Summerculs, I enjoyed hearing the multiple stories you have in your post. The journey of Kenton and your moms experiences was a good real life example of brain fog. My mom had a similar encounter with COVID experiencing various symptoms after her sickness. She mainly experienced dizziness and hearing ringing noises at random times. This really shows how long COVID can be so different and hard to learn more about. It really could affect anyone in a different way. I was able to understand your article because I also researched about long COVID and brain fog. There is research being done to find out if a person has long COVID, and one way of doing that is getting a blood test. The blood tests reveal proteins in the blood that are found in blood clots which are a sign of long COVID Great job making long COVID feel like it needs to be addressed and on your stories of “brain fog” and advocating as well as understanding this illness. I think a great way to spread awareness is to let people know about stories on the illness like the ones you mentioned.

  3. katealyst

    Hi Summercules! Thank you for sharing that personal anecdote about your mom’s COVID experience. It shows how real COVID brain fog is. I was curious if there was a way to cure brain fog faster and found the article linked bellow. Some ideas include exercising, eating a healthy diet, and getting lots of sleep. These ideas help stimulate the brain but are not guaranteed to completely rid someone of brain fog. However, according to the second article linked bellow, the NIH is beginning to test treatments to help with COVID brain fog such as “cognitive training programs”. Thank you again for sharing this information!

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