February 2024 Newsletter

A pink brain and skull.

Published February 1, 2024

New Evidence Suggests Long COVID Could Be a Brain Injury


Researchers found that 351 patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19 had evidence of a long-term brain injury a year after contracting the virus. The findings were based on a series of cognitive tests, self-reported symptoms, brain scans and biomarkers. The brain deficits found in COVID-19 patients were equivalent to 20 years of brain aging and provided proof that the virus can damage the brain, resulting in ongoing health issues. While it provides concrete evidence around the damage the virus is doing to the brains of patients with severe infection, researchers don’t know about the impact of those who had milder cases of COVID-19.

Potential Treatment Opportunity at University of Rochester

COVID-19 is seen to cause damage to blood vessels in the brain. The purpose of this opportunity is to better understand if brain vessels fully recover or remain permanently impacted after initial COVID-19 infection. If you have been hospitalized with COVID-19 and have experienced or are currently experiencing symptoms that have lasted more than four weeks, you may be eligible for this opportunity.

Participation involves 3 in-person visits over 2 years with over $390 in eligible compensation. The study procedures include memory and thinking tests, a brief physical, a blood draw, and an MRI. Free parking, travel reimbursement, compensation, and flexible scheduling is offered.

If you are interested, please contact the research team at (585) 276-6599.

Millions of People Have Long COVID, Including Children and Pregnant People, Studies Show

A family.

Researchers used data from the National Institutes of Health’s RECOVER Initiative for two new studies – one looking at pregnant people and another on children – to give a better look at the burden from long COVID.

The first study says that 1 in 10 people who had COVID when they were pregnant will develop long-term symptoms. Of the 1,503 people who were pregnant in the dataset, 9.3% reported symptoms six months or more after they were infected. It was found that pregnant people who developed long COVID also shared some common factors. Those who had obesity, who had a diagnosis of anxiety or depression, or required supplemental oxygen when they were sick had a higher risk of long COVID.
The second study looked at a variety of studies on children and found that up to 6 million have developed long COVID. Most young people who had long COVID recovered eventually, but a third had symptoms even a year after their initial infection. The research also showed that children had a higher risk of certain autoimmune conditions, like type I diabetes, after COVID infection. It’s important not to minimize the impact of long COVID on kids just because the symptoms often resolve.

Long COVID in the News


NIH Bolster RECOVER Long COVID research efforts through infusion of $515 million

To bolster Long COVID research efforts, NIH is investing an additional $515 million over the next four years into the RECOVER initiative, a nationwide program to fully understand, diagnose and treat Long COVID. The additional funding will build and continue this important work by: 

  • testing additional interventions in clinical trials to find effective treatments to reduce the burden of Long COVID
  • deepening our understanding how SARS-CoV-2 affects each part of the body as it triggers Long COVID
  • identifying potential biological targets for diagnosis and treatment
  • investigating longer-term effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection in adults and children
  • maintaining support for data management and research infrastructure


Online Physical, Mental Rehab Aids Quality of Life With Long COVID

According to a recent study, an online, home-based group physical and mental health rehabilitation program improved health-related quality of life in adults with long COVID. Participants were assigned to an intervention called REGAIN (Rehabilitation Exercise and PhyscholoGical support After covid-19 InfectioN). Researchers found that compared with usual care, the REGAIN intervention proved to be “… an accessible, resource-efficient program that can be delivered at scale contributing to a reduction in the global burden of post-COVID-19.”

Follow Us on Social Media!

Follow us to stay in the loop about the latest long COVID news and for long COVID updates in Western New York.

Find us on:

Sign Up Today!

If you had COVID-19 and would like to participate, begin filling out the questionnaire.

If you have already participated in the Long COVID Connection, feel free to share with others who may be interested.


Contact us: (716) 382 - 1808 / ubcov@buffalo.edu