COVID-19 ‘brain fog’ inspires search for causes and treatments

Authors: Kelly Servick

The true prevalence of cognitive problems in COVID-19 survivors is elusive, and the underlying causes of lingering symptoms are the subject of ongoing studies. But it’s now clear that trouble thinking, concentrating, and remembering can be among the most debilitating “long-haul” symptoms and can persist for months. As more and more people seek help to overcome their brain fog at clinics set up for post–COVID-19 care, researchers and physicians are turning to treatments developed for stroke and traumatic brain injuries. And a few are setting out to test cognitive training video games they hope will expand the reach of therapy.

“Even if it’s a fairly small percentage [of survivors] who report cognitive problems, the number of overall people in that category … represents a tremendous problem,” says James Jackson, a clinical psychologist at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine’s ICU Recovery Center, where Furr will participate in a support group for COVID-19 long haulers.

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