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Harvard Medical: The hidden long-term cognitive effects of COVID-19

Real science is never settled, and anyone who has certainty on such things is not qualified to discuss it
— Lloyd Chambers

Risk assessment vis-a-vis the COVID-19 vaccine in my view makes the vaccine a wise choice for most people, even if only based on the on the cognitive risks of COVID infection. Not for myself but for most people.


Having suffered through 7 months of Long-Haul COVID and having cured myself, I can personally attest to the severe repercussions that follow COVID-19:

  • Initially, anxiety lasting several weeks.
  • Severe brain fog for several months, making it difficult to get more than 1-2 hours of work done. Light headaches, lack of interest in much more than sitting in the sun.
  • Severe loss of energy to 5% of normal—barely functional.
  • A massive increase in sleep requirements (up to 16 hours a day).
  • Small airway impairment clearly related to vagus nerve function (rapid onset/resolution).

These are just the things related to the brain and nervous system! Not all the issues.

Harvard Medical: The hidden long-term cognitive effects of COVID-19

... has become increasingly recognized, however, that the virus also attacks the nervous system. Doctors in a large Chicago medical center found that more than 40% of patients with COVID showed neurologic manifestations at the outset, and more than 30% of those had impaired cognition. Sometimes the neurological manifestations can be devastating and can even lead to death.

...research is now suggesting that there may be long-term neurologic consequences in those who survive COVID infections, including more than seven million Americans and another 27 million people worldwide. Particularly troubling is increasing evidence that there may be mild — but very real — brain damage that occurs in many survivors, causing pervasive yet subtle cognitive, behavioral, and psychological problems.

...In survivors of intensive care unit (ICU) stays due to acute respiratory failure or shock from any cause, one-third of people show such a profound degree of cognitive impairment that performance on neuropsychological testing is comparable to those with moderate traumatic brain injury. In daily life, such cognitive effects on memory, attention, and executive function can lead to difficulties managing medications, managing finances, comprehending written materials, and even carrying on conversations with friends and family. Commonly observed long-term psychological effects of ICU stays include anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Effects due to COVID ICU stays are expected to be similar — a prediction that has already been confirmed by the studies in Britain, Canada, and Finland reviewed above.

...We know that silent strokes frequently occur, and are a risk factor for both large strokes and dementia. Silent strokes typically affect the brain’s white matter — the wiring between brain cells that enables different parts of the brain to communicate with each other...

COVID infection frequently leads to brain damage — particularly in those over 70. While sometimes the brain damage is obvious and leads to major cognitive impairment, more frequently the damage is mild, leading to difficulties with sustained attention.


WIND: researchers might be missing the full picture: it’s not just the brain but the dorsal and ventral vagus nerves and cranial/facial nerves too. My impaired small airway lung function was almost certainly the result of a vagus nerve gone awry.

It is my sense that I have fully recovered from Long-Haul COVID in most ways, especially cognitively—now the best I’ve been since my concussion in 2018. A few lingering symptoms can come and go, and I hope those will resolve over time.

In my case, I followed a strict nutritional regimen which the modern medical establishment is clueless about. And I had a very high level of fitness and generally healthy lifestyle that many people do not enjoy.

At the very least, everyone should be taking the best bioavailable form of magnesium, as it is proven to reduce the risk of strokes, and to reduce nerve damage and contribute to nervous system recovery. This might in fact have been a primary factor in all sorts of health improvements I saw, but I did not start magnesium supplementation until 8 weeks after initial infection.

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