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Tulane starts medical trial for patients dealing with COVID symptoms, weeks after having the virus

Ira is a COVID long hauler. Now 11 months later, there is still mental haze, fatigue and headaches.

NEW ORLEANS — Now a follow-up to a Medical Watch story we first told you about three months ago.

Some people who recover from COVID-19 experience what they call brain fog.

Our story prompted others with the same condition to seek treatment, and now a new, specialty clinic is opening.

Back in March, when we were first hearing about COVID and lockdowns, Ira Rosenzweig was fighting the symptoms.

“I had fever for a couple of days. It never exceeded 100 (degrees). I had trouble breathing for about a week, and fatigue,” Ira Rosenzweig remembered.

Then, a few days later, a more serious symptom showed up.

“I became very light-headed. I kept having these waves of lightheadedness, so I did go to the emergency room. Nobody knew really what was going on at the time. It was hard to get access to medical treatment. When I called 911, because we didn’t know what was going on,  the EMT showed up and they had to put on hazmat suits, and they wouldn’t come inside. They waited outside for me, so it was a scary time,” he explained.

Ira is a COVID long hauler. Now 11 months later, there is still mental haze, fatigue and headaches.

“Sort of describe it like having, if you're looking cross-eyed, but try imagining that feeling for hours during a day, said Rosenzweig.

“It looks like it's about 10 percent of people, that were infected with COVID, may go on to have lingering symptoms, and of those lingering symptoms, neurologic symptoms tend to predominate as you get further out,” said Tulane Neurologist Dr. Michele Longo. 

Dr. Longo said after our brain fog story in November, she got calls from new patients and doctors referring patients with this condition. So this week they opened the Tulane Neurology Post COVID Clinic.

Right now there is no cure, but patients suffering, for at least 12 weeks, get supportive care for symptoms, and can join the latest CDC funded clinical trials.

“That's what's been so frustrating for so many of our patients, which is we don't have the answers.  We're all in real time science learning this together,” she said.

 Dr. Longo said patients face a mental health stigma, especially since their symptoms come and go in severity.

When asked if he is feeling better, Rosenzweig answered, “It has, fortunately. It has.”

“Certainly the vast majority of patients, they do improve. They do that and it takes time,” noted Dr. Longo.

And for each patient, there’s a different timeline.

Doctors are looking into the possibility that long COVID brain fog is caused by inflammation in the brain triggered by the virus.

Tulane Doctors Neurosciences - Metairie                                                     4224 Houma Boulevard, Suite 540                                                             Metairie, LA 70006                                                                                      Tel: 504-503-7001

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