Face Blindness in Long COVID

Published: March 21, 2023

Face Blindness in Long COVID

The "brain fog" commonly seen in various forms of chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, including Long COVID, has a new twist added to it.

The most prominent symptoms of brain fog have been difficulty with short-term memory, word finding, and word substitution. Episodic disorientation is also common in about 1/3 of people. New research is suggesting that developing difficulty in facial recognition, technically known as prosopagnosia, can also be a part of the cognitive dysfunction.

This can create a good bit of awkwardness and, when severe, may even render people unable to recognize faces of their family members. Fortunately, it is usually milder than this. Albeit still often quite challenging for people.

The brain fog of Long COVID and fibromyalgia is not to be confused with dementia. Brain fog is when you repeatedly forget where you left your keys. Dementia is when you forget how to use your keys. Nonetheless, long-term chronic pain can trigger some brain shrinkage over the decades. Which has been associated with dementia. This is likely because both the pain and Long COVID can trigger a process called microglial activation, which can be viewed as a form of ongoing brain inflammation.

The good news? Usually both the pain and the "brain inflammation" of microglial activation can be turned off. This is the mechanism by which the compounded prescription treatment called "Low Dose Naltrexone" is likely to work. This compounded safe prescription is very inexpensive at only about $0.75 a day, and repeated studies have shown it to be helpful for fibromyalgia overall, as well as many other kinds of pain and autoimmune disorders. It can also be very helpful in Long COVID, and it is very important that research using this treatment be done. But as the treatment is so cheap, it has few effective champions to attract research funding.

With its low cost, safety, and repeatedly proven effectiveness in fibromyalgia research, it is very reasonable for this treatment to be used for Long COVID as well as fibromyalgia. It may initially disrupt sleep (which can be adjusted for) and it typically takes about two months before benefits begin to be seen (at 3-4.5 mg a night). So people have to be a little patient. But when the benefits kick in they can be quite dramatic.

I also find that balancing the immune system with a combination of herbs found in a mix called Curamin® can also be very helpful at settling down discomfort while balancing inflammation in two key inflammatory systems: cyclooxygenase(COX) and lipoxygenase (LOX).

Fortunately, the brain fog in Long COVID and CFS/fibromyalgia are very treatable, as is the pain and fatigue. But it is best to begin treatments now, rather than leaving people disabled, in pain, and at-risk for future worsened cognitive dysfunction. Effective treatment is already available with multiple options. The time is now!

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of eight research studies on their effective treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. His newest book (June 10, 2024) is You Can Heal From Long COVID. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.

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