I’ve had it with COVID!!!

Despite the epidemic, life was moving along just fine without too many hitches, when the Outdoors Guy was suddenly not feeling well. A couple days later, I was right there with him.
We both got tested for COVID. He was positive. I was negative. That was on a Friday. A couple days later, I still wasn’t feeling well and went for another COVID test. This time, it came back positive.
We’re not sure if our son, Evan, gave us the virus after going to a Brewers game the previous weekend with his wife, Annie and daughter, Ady, although, they did wear masks the entire time. Or, if Bob picked it up somewhere throughout his travels and gave it to me, Evan and family.
Evan was probably the sickest. And although neither The Outdoors Guy nor I got deathly sick, we were both miserable for a number of days. Annie did OK and Ady (almost 10) only had a sore throat. What’s so strange is we all previously had our COVID vaccines AND boosters. In fact, I had my second booster four days before I was diagnosed. Go figure!
I recently read Dr. Frank Bures’ column, Health Hints* in the La Crosse Tribune that those who had a more mild form of COVID, where they didn’t need to be hospitalized, may have long-term effects from the disease. Oh, goody! As if being 65+ isn’t enough fun, another dimension has been added to our merriment!
The mild COVID group here showed thinning in several brain regions, ranging from 0.2% to 2% compared to their pre-COVID scan. This is equivalent to 1-6 years of normal brain aging.
For comparison, the scientists were able to find a small number of volunteers’ scans after non-COVID-19 pneumonia. They did not have the same changes, implying Covid patients’ alterations were from COVID specifically. Brain volume decreases are common to many brain diseases and are found in depression, Alzheimer’s, mild cognitive disease and traumatic brain injury. These patients also have problems with memory and attention deficits.
According to Bures, “Affected brain regions included parahippocampal, an area related to memory and the orbitofrontal cortex, an area affecting taste and smell. They had altered connections between different brain regions in the olfactory cortex, an area related to smell. The brain-size reduction related to post-COVID patients showed greater decrease in whole brain volume and increase in cerebrospinal fluid volume.
“Both groups took some rudimentary cognitive or thinking tests. The COVID group had greater decline in the ability to perform complex tasks, which on brain scans was associated with atrophy or thinning in the crus II, an area of the cerebellum (lower brain) an area associated with cognition or attention and mental flexibility.”
It is an interesting study. However, the authors also speculated these brain changes could be “related to brain diseases found in depression, Alzheimer’s, mild cognitive disease and traumatic brain injury.
As with any study, and especially one of such uncharted territory, the authors explained that the changes could also be from inflammation or immune reactions, direct viral infection of nerve cells, or degeneration of those nerves.”
Dr. Bures wrote, “The long term implications and predictions of and from these data are impossible to make at this time.’
My question: Should we who have had COVID be concerned or move forward and live our lives to the best of our ability? I vote for option 2!
After all, according to the National Institute of Mental Health: The brains of people who experience depression or anxiety may age more quickly than other people. And researchers in a new study say this increases their odds of developing dementia.”
Keep in mind: This is just another study that likely had its limitations, too!
* Comments taken from La Crosse Tribune’s Dr. Frank Bures’ column “Healthful Hints” Sunday, May 4, 2022