Brain fog is a condition “wherein the brain’s thinking capability, calculative ability or analytical power becomes sluggish. After the second wave, a few patients were complaining of forgetting things, their memory wasn’t going along with them. We concluded that it may be due to Covid as there were neurological changes in their brain, which resulted in the slow passage of neurotransmitters,” Dr Animesh Arya, Senior Consultant, Respiratory Medicine, Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute told indianexpress.com.
Now, according to a recent study by a research team from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), this could be due to the virus’ effect on the spinal fluid. The researchers found elevated levels of proteins in the samples of some Covid survivors after analysing their cerebrospinal fluid.
This, the researchers claim, indicated that some inflammation occurred as a result of an immune response to the Covid-19 virus.
Published in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, the study recruited 32 Covid survivors for the study. Of these, 22 patients reported cognitive issues post-infection.
Dr Joanna Hellmuth, senior author of the study and researchers at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center, said, “It’s possible that the immune system, stimulated by the virus, maybe functioning in an unintended pathological way.”
According to Dr Arya, “Brain fog may also be due to meningitis, encephalitis, fits, strokes, low sugar, or low oxygen.”
For some, experiencing brain fog could be damaging as they might end up forgetting useful information and have trouble staying focused.
“They manifest as problems remembering recent events, coming up with names or words, staying focused, and issues with holding onto and manipulating information, as well as slowed processing speed,” Hellmuth said.
With time, however, brain fog improves and eventually goes away, Dr Arya added. “Assessment from a neurologist is necessary to know the real reason for brain fog so that correct medication can be given. In addition to this, constant and a close follow-up of this situation is needed with reassurance to the person that this would recover eventually.”