Monday, October 23, 2023

Covid is Weakening Us as a Species

Yesterday I wrote about the probability of Long Covid sweeping through our civilization over the next five years. This post looks at how it presents in individuals: 

Infections rates are extremely high right now, and we not masking or ensuring there's clean air in hospitals, stores, or public transportation, and we're still actively preventing teachers and parents from taking measures to clean the air in their classrooms because so many people think it's just like a cold. It's really not. Here's just a few testimonies of life with Long Covid:

From Rachel Hext:

"Three years ago today, I tested positive for an infection that has changed my life. I’m 36 and have been disabled for three years. I will have to take medication for the rest of my life. I have had pain every day for three years. I have learnt to parent with deafness, blurred vision, exhaustion, a heart condition, and three other chronic conditions and extensive damage, all caused by a Covid Infection I got in the line of duty. I’ve had to fight to save my career from the very same people who let us get Covid from poor PPE, poor planning, and poor preparation, despite it being the second wave. And despite working hard to return to work, I’m now facing the sack at Christmas. Everyone from the Prime Minister to the civilians on the street clapped for us NHS ‘Heroes’ and now we have been forgotten. Thousands of NHS staff DIED from contracting Covid, and it has been the greatest mass disabling event since WW1. And Boris said it was all ‘bollocks’ about the very same people that saved his life. That’s gratitude for you."

From ThreeBucks,

"One year ago March 1 was my last gathering, public or private. I was already infected with Covid but didn't know it yet. The headache started this night. After a mild illness, I have been periodically bedridden with Long Covid post-viral crashes for this entire year. I didn't even know what was happening to me for a couple months. Then I started realizing that every time I tried to do practically anything - a short walk, going to the grocery story, cleaning one room - within 24 hours, I would be in bed with body aches, a headache, and fever. This is the curse of post-viral exertion intolerance, called ME/CFS. Millions have suffered with it for years, but the medical community has offered them practically no relief. Sometimes, they are even cruelly dismissed as hypochondriacs. Along with exhaustion, which can be triggered not only by physical exertion but mental exertion, like f'n talking, Long Covid and ME/CFS can also cause 'brain fog' [cognitive dysfunction]. Mine manifested as an inability to recall many common words, and it made my speech painfully halted. Heat intolerance is another feature of Long Covid, but I didn'nt learn that until a month ago after a three-week crash was triggered by taking a bath. Now I know why I had such a bad summer. It was HOT, ffs. I was in bed, miserable, practically the whole summer. Did almost nothing. Once I knew there were a lot of us with Long Covid, it got a lot easier emotionally. Not feleing alone is a very important feature of life with a rare chronic illness. Luckily I found a doc who did not dismiss my symptoms. They couldn't do anything to help, but they didn't insult me. Every test I take is normal, nothing shows up. This is typical with Long Covid ME/CFS. 90% of people with it are undiagnosed because diagnosis is so difficult."

Soon Long Covid won't be as rare! And unfortunately it seems to only be officially diagnosed using a PET scan, which many doctors can't or won't access. One last short one from Clair Elle,

"Every day I'm mad at the downplaying of Covid. Not told you may lose joys like TV, music, outdoors. Not told you may lose the ability to care for yourself, bathe, cook. You may lay in a room all day alone with nothing. And it can all be permanent. Every day I'm mad."  

Check out Hannah's story too.  

But this could never happen to you, right?? 

About 1 in 5 infections lead to Long Covid. The CDC study pegged it at 19% (2023). Once study found Long Covid in 18.2% of participants, almost all fully vaccinated (Woldegiorgies et al., 2023). Another study found Long Covid in 16.2% of children (Jiang et al., 2023). Another found persistent infection in 25% of asymptomatic children (John Snow, 2023). So, it's a very high risk rate. 

And "recovery, unfortunately, is actually quite rare" (Cooney, 2023). In Dr. Grace McComsey's experience, "So very few people get better. . . . For people in 2020 who [got] Long Covid . . . I have not seen any significant improvement. So that tells us that this condition is not going to go away with time."

Finally, Dr. Clair Taylor, a neuroscientist, explains what's going on:

"To all the Long Covid doubters - I diagnose neuroinflammation all the time. It is clear to see in patients’ presentation. It is not brain fog - it’s cognitive dysfunction @polybioRF has linked it with vascular problems. Covid is a vascular disease (VanElzakker et al, 2023). We don't usually have access to PET scans and vascular inflammation markers for patients. But then we don't for other diseases either. It doesn't mean we cannot diagnoses and treat them. This chart shows Long Covid in red and normal in blue. Clearly those with Long Covid are different.

What is different? More of a PET signal = neuroinflammation. The inflamed areas correlated with gaps in the blood-brain barrier. This is there to protect the brain from damage. Seven vascular factors were raised. The more orange in the area, the more inflamed it is. Brains on fire. 
I know these people have neuroinflammation because they cannot remember the word for 'fridge.' They forget to turn the cooker off. They cannot find common words that were once immediately available. They search the folders of their mind for words they once knew before Covid. Yet there are STILL told they are anxious; they are traumatised by the pandemic; they are stressed; they are depressed they need to imagine they are not any of these thing and then their brain will work. 

There is a condition known as anti-NMDAR encephalitis. It is an autoimmune condition with antibodies against receptors int he brain - leading to inflammation. What we are seeing with Covid is a different mechanism. There is more than one way to a similar outcome with disease. Inflammation can be achieved by antibodies (autoimmune diseases) or increase in inflammatory chemicals from the immune system (auto-inflammatory diseases). 

In this study, they used [11C]PBR28 PET neuroimaging, a marker of neuroinflammation, to compare 12 PASC individuals to 43 normative healthy controls. They found significantly increased neuroinflammation in PASC versus controls across a wide swath of brain regions. Regions of the brain with inflammation included the midcingulate and anterior cingulate cortex, corpus callosum, thalamus, basal ganglia, and at the boundaries of ventricles. What does each of these areas do? Midcingulate and anterior cingulate cortex: emotions, action, and memory. Corpus callosum: connects the right and left sides of the brain. Sounds pretty important.Thalamus: relays sensory impulses from receptors in the body to the cerebral cortex . . . to interpret touch, pain, temperature, etc. Basil ganglia: the movement centre using dopamine. When it dysfunctions, you get Parkinson's disease and other movement disorders. However, it has other roles such as motor learning, executive functions and behaviours, and emotions. The ventricles: produce cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and transports it around the cranial cavity. There are four ventricles, and adults have around 250 mls of CSF, which plays an important role in supporting brain growth, protecting against external trauma, removal of metabolites produced by neuronal and glial cell activity, and transport of biologically active substances (like hormones and neuropeptides) throughout the brain. Blockage of ventricles leads to hydrocephalus (build up of fluid). Other disease of the ventricular system include inflammation of the membranes (meningitis) or of the ventricles (ventriculitis) caused by infection or the build up of blood following trauma or haemorrhage. 

All of these inflamed areas have a blood supply of their own. Covid is a vascular disease. Anywhere with a blood supply can be affected. It may feel like a cold, but how do you know if your anterior cingulate cortex is inflamed? . . . Why do some people get this and some don't? If you don't get it on your first Covid infection, can you get it on your third? Can we fix it? Will it lead to increases in things like Parkinson's disease and dementia? What happens by the tenth infection?

Since we don't know the answers, we shouldn't be letting Covid pass through schools over and over and those growing brains. 

How do we treat similar neuroinflammatory conditions? Immunoglobulins, immunosuppressants, and plasmapheresis. But we also have the vascular issues here - what do we treat that with? Blood thinners? Statins? Steroids? Do we need anti-virals? We are learning the mechanisms thanks to groups like @polybioRF. I can't see our leaders shouting this from the rooftops: 
Protect your brain.
Protect your blood vessels.
I suspect the fixing is much harder, and most Long Covid patients do not have a specialised PET scan. And yet, still, the doctors are working with no PPE. Many don't even appear to want it. 
Listen to those who have already suffered the consequences. Covid is going nowhere. It is weakening us as a species. The most amazing thing about humans is our giant brains." 
Now can we all wear an N95?

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