Tiny strokes may cause some symptoms, said Dr. Dona Kim Murphey, a neurologist and neuroscientist, who herself has experienced post-Covid neurological issues, including “alien hand syndrome,” in which she felt a “super-bizarre sense of my left hand, like I didn’t understand why it was positioned the way it was and I was really captivated by it.”
Other possible causes are autoimmune reactions “when antibodies mistakenly attack nerve cells,” Dr. Spudich said.
Symptoms like tingling or numbness can occur when damaged nerves send wrong signals, said Dr. Allison Navis, a neuro-infectious disease specialist at Mount Sinai Health System. Some people with brain fog still experience lung or heart issues, which can exacerbate neurological symptoms.
So far, MRI scans haven’t indicated damaged brain areas, neurologists say.
Dr. Murphey, scientific director for a brain-wave technology company, who couldn’t summon the word “work” in a recent meeting, said research is crucial so symptoms are taken seriously.
“People say in a disparaging way ‘It’s all in their head,’” she said. “In this case it is literally in our heads, and it is very real.”
Daily life altered
This summer, Mr. Reagan, the vascular medicine specialist, turned the stove on to cook eggs and then absent-mindedly left to walk the dog, Wolff-Parkinson-White, named after a cardiac arrhythmia. Returning to discover a dangerously hot empty pan, he panicked and hasn’t cooked since.
He’s forgotten this past Christmas, New Year’s and the Paris vacation in March that he arranged for his partner Mustafa Al Niama’s 40th birthday.