08 January 2024

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One of the most common symptoms described by many people with long COVID is “brain fog,” an informal term for the sluggish thinking and difficulty concentrating or remembering that never seems to completely go away. It’s similar to how someone might feel if severely jet-lagged or sleep-deprived, or the icky drowsiness that accompanies certain medications, like antihistamines. But with long COVID, brain fog can occur regardless of how much rest someone gets.
Now a new study has found a link between two particular blood proteins and cognitive symptoms six months and one year after a COVID diagnosis. What’s particularly interesting is that the proteins are involved in blood clotting. Microclots have been suspected as a likely culprit involved in the causes of long COVID for a while, but this is the first time scientists have linked specific blood clotting proteins with a key symptom of long COVID.

One of the most common symptoms described by many people with long COVID is “brain fog,” an informal term for the sluggish thinking and difficulty concentrating or remembering that never seems to completely go away. It’s similar to how someone might feel if severely jet-lagged or sleep-deprived, or the icky drowsiness that accompanies certain medications, like antihistamines. But with long COVID, brain fog can occur regardless of how much rest someone gets.
Now a new study has found a link between two particular blood proteins and cognitive symptoms six months and one year after a COVID diagnosis. What’s particularly interesting is that the proteins are involved in blood clotting. Microclots have been suspected as a likely culprit involved in the causes of long COVID for a while, but this is the first time scientists have linked specific blood clotting proteins with a key symptom of long COVID.

One of the most common symptoms described by many people with long COVID is “brain fog,” an informal term for the sluggish thinking and difficulty concentrating or remembering that never seems to completely go away. It’s similar to how someone might feel if severely jet-lagged or sleep-deprived, or the icky drowsiness that accompanies certain medications, like antihistamines. But with long COVID, brain fog can occur regardless of how much rest someone gets.
Now a new study has found a link between two particular blood proteins and cognitive symptoms six months and one year after a COVID diagnosis. What’s particularly interesting is that the proteins are involved in blood clotting. Microclots have been suspected as a likely culprit involved in the causes of long COVID for a while, but this is the first time scientists have linked specific blood clotting proteins with a key symptom of long COVID.
Finding this link is a small step — it doesn’t mean a treatment is around the corner — and the findings don’t mean that these proteins have a role in causing long COVID. They might simply indicate something else going on in the body that’s related to potential causes. But the more scientists can understand about the biological processes happening in the body around COVID and long COVID, the more likely it is that they can eventually come up with ways to counteract some of those processes. As someone who has been reporting on COVID since the start of the pandemic and who reads dozens of infectious disease medical studies every month, I’m excited to see even baby steps being made in understanding this frustration condition.
Details of the study
The study involved 1,837 adults who were hospitalized with COVID-19. The authors took measurements of biomarkers from these adults while they were hospitalized and then assessed their cognitive functioning.

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