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Sebastian Rushworth MD: Does COVID Cause Brain Damage?

re: Long Haul COVID
re: Sebastian Rushworth MD

Solid reasoning on another bullshit claim about COVID studies.

Does covid cause brain damage?

by Sebastian Rushworth M.D., 26 July 2021. Emphasis added.

The latest in the long succession of attempts at maximizing people’s fear of covid is the claim that it causes brain damage. And not just in those who have spent time in the ICU, in everyone, even if all they had was a mild cold. The claim is currently doing the rounds on social media (apparently alarmist propaganda only counts as misinformation if it’s going against the dominant narrative). The assertion comes from a paper that’s recently been published in EClinicalMedicine (a daughter journal of The Lancet). The paper is actually quite illuminating about the current state of medical research, so I thought it would be interesting to go through it in some detail.

...The reason the study is causing such a stir is because of the results. All five of the “I think I’ve had covid” categories performed worse on the cognitive function test than the “I don’t think I’ve had covid” category did. The reduction in performance was correlated with the severity of disease, with the people who had been on a ventilator performing worst – according to the researchers their results were equivalent to a seven point reduction on an IQ test. If we assume that the non-covid group have an IQ of 100, this would mean that the group that had been on a ventilator have an IQ of 93.

Ok, open and shut, right? Having covid makes you more stupid, and the more severe disease you have, the more stupid you become. Well, not quite.

...The fact that the study was observational and cross-sectional, and that there were big underlying differences between the groups, is on its own enough to disqualify any claims about this study being able to show that covid causes brain damage. But it gets worse. A lot worse.

A major problem with the study is that 97%(!) of the people who thought they’d had covid lacked testing to confirm the diagnosis... If you can’t even be sure that 97% of participants actually had the disease you’re trying to draw conclusions about, then you really don’t have a leg to stand on.

...To me, the main lesson here is that we currently live in a world where junk science goes unquestioned and gets published in peer-reviewed journals as long as it feeds in to the dominant narrative. If this study had been claiming, say, that face masks didn’t work, then it would remain stuck at the pre-print stage forever, or, if it ever did get published, it would immediately have been retracted. It has become blatantly obvious over the past year and a half that it is not primarily the quality of studies that determines where and whether they get published, but rather their acceptability to the powers that be.

WIND: all that said, I cannot prove that I had COVID back in April 2020, but nothing I’ve ever had was like it, and the onset, duration, symptoms were unlike anything else I’ve ever had and matche COVID symptoms. And the ensuing effects definitely caused cognitive impairment for 6 months, and I still am weak 13 months later.

So... it might be a bullshit study, but in my view the risks are very real for Long Haul COVID.

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