Title: UNSW Sydney and St. Vincent’s Hospital Researchers Shed Light on the Biological Mechanism of “Brain Fog” in Long COVID Patients
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Researchers from the University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney) and St. Vincent’s Hospital have made a breakthrough in understanding the lingering cognitive symptoms experienced by long COVID patients. Their study has identified a metabolic pathway that is linked to the phenomenon commonly known as “brain fog.”
The study, which involved 128 patients enrolled in the St. Vincent’s COVID-19 ADAPT study, found that individuals with prolonged activation of the kynurenine pathway were more likely to suffer from cognitive deficits even 12 months after recovering from COVID-19. Importantly, these symptoms were observed to have no significant improvement over time.
The findings offer significant hope for the development of new diagnostic markers and potential treatments for long COVID patients. By getting closer to determining the biological mechanism behind brain fog, researchers aim to bring relief to those grappling with the often debilitating cognitive effects of the virus.
Dr. Samantha Kerr, the lead researcher at UNSW Sydney, expressed enthusiasm over the findings. She stated, “Understanding the underlying mechanisms of brain fog is vital in developing interventions that can alleviate or even prevent these cognitive deficits in long COVID patients.”
While the study focused on patients who had previously contracted COVID-19, the researchers have expanded their investigation to include vaccinated patients as well. By extending the study up to 24 months after infection, they hope to gain a comprehensive understanding of the long-term impact of COVID-19 on cognitive function.
The kynurenine pathway, which links metabolism and brain function, has been found to be dysregulated in various neurological disorders. This study suggests that its prolonged activation in long COVID patients may contribute to the persistent brain fog symptoms they experience.
Dr. Kerr emphasized the importance of collaboration and continued research in this area. She said, “We need to collaborate across disciplines to fully understand the impact of COVID-19 on brain health and develop interventions that can improve the quality of life for long COVID patients.”
As we await further insights from this study, the identification of the metabolic pathway related to brain fog offers a glimmer of hope for individuals struggling with long COVID. Perhaps, in the near future, new diagnostic markers and potential treatments will emerge, ensuring a brighter outlook for those affected by these cognitive impairments.
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