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This long COVID symptom can lead to nerve damage

What you need to know about long COVID and nerve damage

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An image depicting the omicron variant.

Nerve damage from long COVID-19 can create immune dysfunction, too

Illustration by Zoe Peterson, Deseret News

Scientists recently found that nerve damage caused by long COVID-19 symptoms can come from immune system dysfunction, which includes low activity in the immune system.

Driving the news: In a new study, researchers dug into why people who have long COVID-19 end up with neuropathic symptoms or nerve damage.

What they found: “Our findings suggest that some long COVID patients had damage to their peripheral nerve fibers, and that damage to the small-fiber type of nerve cell may be prominent,” said lead author Anne Louise Oaklander, an investigator in the Department of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital, according to The Harvard Gazette.

Details: Researchers recruited 17 people who were infected with COVID-19 and who had no prior history of nerve damage, per Medical News Today.

  • The researchers then tracked their symptoms, examination results and neurodiagnostic test results over a 1.4-year period.

What they’re saying: “The information helps us better understand the pathophysiology that may underlie some long COVID symptoms, which can guide treatments to bring symptomatic relief and validation to patients,” Dr. Mary Kelley, one of the authors of the study, told Medical News Today.

What’s next: Oaklander told The Harvard Gazette there hasn’t been enough time to develop treatments for those who suffer from these issues. But her team, she said, is dedicated to seeking out treatments and how best to diagnose people.