A study suggests that some patients with chronic COVID experience significant nerve damage that may be attributed to infection-induced immune dysfunction, which is potentially therapeutic.
Even after moderate episodes, long COVID symptoms persist at least three months after recovery from COVID. These include difficulty acquiring through normal activities, faintness and rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, cognitive difficulties, chronic pain, sensory abnormalities, and muscle weakness.
The study, led by researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital and the National Institutes of Health, was published today inNeurology: Neuroimmunology & Neuroinflammation. These patients had 16 with severe cases, which had been tested and treated in 10 states/territories in the United States. The symptoms of neuropathy nerve damage include weakness, sensory changes, and internal fatigue.
This is one of the early studies to investigate the causes of long COVID, which will continue to grow in importance as acute COVID wanes, according to lead author Anne Louise Oaklander, an investigator in the Department of Neurology at MGH. Our findings suggest that some long COVID patients suffered damage to their peripheral nerve fibers, and that damage to the small-fiber type of nerve cell may be evident.
Patients with long-term COVID symptoms that aren''t otherwise explained and aren''t improving may benefit from talking about neuropathy with their doctor, or seeing a neuromuscular specialist, according to Oaklander.
According to Oaklander, research from our team and others is revealing what the different types of post-COVID neuropathy are, and how best to diagnose and treat them. Some patients imply that standard therapy for other immune-related neuropathies has not been given time to investigate. However, she believes that clinical trials haven''t done enough time to rigorously test specific therapies.