Long Covid: Dr Sara Kayat discusses impact on children
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Long Covid can cause a long list of worrying symptoms from brain fog to hallucinations. Researchers are starting to understand why these strange symptoms might occur. A new study has found similar processes occurring in the brains of long Covid patients as people with Parkinson’s disease, which may explain the odd symptoms.
A lead researcher in the study said it shows people with long Covid may be at greater risk for the condition in the future.
But he also suggested that the findings are no cause for concern as there’s much more to be learned about the disease.
The study, which was led by the University of Queensland, Australia, found that COVID-19 causes an inflammation response in the brain that is akin to what happens during Parkinson’s disease.
Professor Trent Woodruff said: “It may explain some of the symptoms that are occurring in patients with long Covid and brain fog.
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“It’s certainly something that we should be looking at and monitoring.”
According to the NHS, long Covid is when your symptoms of coronavirus persist after 12 weeks since the initial infection.
Analysis by the Zoe Health Study has shown that 4.4 percent of Omicron cases cause long Covid.
The new study looked at the impact that Covid had on immune cells in the brain called microglia.
Microglia cells are heavily active in Parkinson’s disease and are believed to secrete inflammatory chemicals.
The researchers looked at cells from a healthy blood donor versus the cells of people who were infected with Covid.
Woodruff told ABC News Australia: “We identified that the cells became highly inflammatory, we like to think of them as angry microglia, and they turned on a pathway called the inflammasome, which we have previously shown is linked to certain brain diseases, like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.”
But Woodruff was adamant that more research is needed to suggest a link between the two conditions.
He explained to the Australian publication that his comments didn’t mean that all the people with Covid will go on to develop Parkinson’s.
Some symptoms similar to those with Parkinson’s disease have been spotted among long Covid sufferers, although there is currently no link between the conditions.
A study in The Lancet’s journal eClinical Medicine last summer which looked at the reported symptoms of long Covid patients found that roughly 40 percent of patients reported tremors.
Other symptoms that have been spotted include extreme tiredness, shortness of breath, loss of smell, and muscle aches, according to the NHS.Chest pain is another symptom that has been spotted among people with long Covid.
But chest pain could also be a symptom of other extremely serious conditions such as a heart attack.
The British Heart Foundation advises people call 999 if they experience “chest pain that is sudden or severe and doesn’t go away” as well as chest pain that comes with “vomiting, nausea, sweating and shortness of breath”.
The charity adds: “If you have chest pain that comes and goes, you should still speak to your GP about it or call 111 – as chest pain should never be ignored.”
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