The Long Haul - Inside one neurologist’s quest to solve the mystery of COVID’s most puzzling (neurological) complication


The good news is patients don't die the bad news..
Those symptoms corresponded with patients’ self-reporting of a lower quality of life and issues regarding cognition, anxiety, depression, and sleep. The patients also performed worse than expected on tests of processing speed, attention, executive function, and memory.
The consequences can be profound. “Cognition may be affected in a way that you can’t multitask the way you were multitasking before,” Koralnik says. “You can’t be, you know, a reporter because you can’t figure out all the different deadlines that you have. You can’t be a police officer or a nurse or a businessperson. So that affects people in their ability to keep their current job.” The Brookings Institution reported in August that between two million and four million Americans aren’t working because of the effects of long COVID. Says Nath: “Once you damage the brain, the societal consequences are enormous.”

A request to interview RECOVER cochair Walter Koroshetz, the director of NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, about Koralnik’s work was met with a response that he was unavailable. But the NIH’s Nath agrees with Koralnik about the need to study long COVID. “Chronic fatigue syndrome, Gulf War syndrome, post-Lyme syndrome, sick building syndrome — nobody knows what causes them, but if you look at them, they’re very similar complaints,” Nath says. “If you study long COVID and figure this one out, maybe we can benefit these other ones at the same time.”