Brain fog is a collection of symptoms experienced by some people after they have had COVID-19. It’s a term used to describe feelings of forgetfulness, problems with speech, and a general lack of mental clarity. Unfortunately, these cognition problems and a host of other physical effects from so-called “Long COVID” can persist long after the person has recovered from the physical effects of the virus. And worryingly, research with COVID survivors indicates these symptoms can return at any point in time. (1) This may cause significant disruptions in a person’s daily life, and have serious effects on their long-term physical and mental health.
The more we learn about post-COVID brain fog, the better we can provide therapeutic services to help. At Neurozone, we provide comprehensive testing of cognitive abilities and brain training protocols using neurofeedback to help people struggling with cognition problems after COVID. Licensed Speech-Language Pathologist Erin Badour, CCC-SLP guides her clients through every step of the process to help them regain a sharper mind, restore their confidence in their abilities, and improve their overall quality of life. If you have been struggling with post-COVID brain fog, please get in touch with us. To book a personal consultation at our Playa del Rey, Santa Monica, or Redondo Beach office, please call (310) 821-3640 or fill out a form on our website.
- 1 Brain Fog
- 2 What is Executive Function?
- 3 Real-Life Examples
- 4 Cognition Testing at Neurozone
- 5 Neurofeedback for Brain Fog
- 6 Personal Consultation
- 7 Tips for Improving Your Cognition
- 8 Cost of Neurofeedback for Brain Fog in Santa Monica, CA
- 9 References
Cognitive dysfunction occurs in around 70% of patients with “Long Covid,” making it one of the most common symptoms reported worldwide. (2) But what are the signs you’re experiencing it? The basic characteristics of brain fog can include the following.
- Word-Finding Difficulties
- Memory Problems
- Dizziness (3)
In one survey, patients were asked about their cognitive symptoms after COVID. The results were striking.
- 77.8% of participants reported difficulty concentrating.
- 69% reported brain fog
- 67.5% reported forgetfulness
- 59.5% reported tip-of-the-tongue (ToT) word-finding problems
- 43.7% reported semantic disfluency (saying or typing the wrong word) (2)
These figures suggest that almost 8 in10 Long-COVID sufferers have concentration problems, and almost 7 in 10 experience brain fog.
Cognitive impairment is associated with problems in the workplace and poorer quality of life. Although our understanding of the long-term effects of COVID-19 on the body is still developing, the research published so far is significant. International studies have shown that certain populations are more likely to experience brain fog and other debilitating symptoms after contracting COVID-19.
One large-scale study showed that women, patients with respiratory symptoms at the onset, and those admitted to the ICU were more likely to experience post-COVID brain fog, as well as other symptoms of Long COVID. (3) In the media, and elsewhere, these people may be referred to as “long-haulers.”
CDC Recognition of Long COVID
Long COVID syndrome is now a recognized condition around the world. The CDC outlines long COVID, or post-COVID conditions in detail on its website, outlining, among other things, that post-COVID conditions can cause the following.
- Ongoing health problems that last weeks, month, or longer
- Tiredness that interferes with daily life
- Difficulty thinking or concentrating
- Dizziness when you stand up
- Depression and anxiety
- Sleep disturbances (4)
What is Executive Function?
Executive function is the term used for a number of processes that occur in the brain that help our day-to-day functioning. It includes the following.
- Organizational Skills
- Working Memory
- Emotional Regulation
- Impulse Control
- Task Initiation
- Mental Flexibility
Executive dysfunction can cause significant disruption in these areas. Brain fog is another deficit in executive functioning, which may interfere with our everyday lives, causing us to forget things, get easily confused, or find it difficult to remember to do important tasks. This can cause concern, especially if you are also juggling looking after yourself, caring for a family, and work responsibilities.
Cognition deficits are difficulties related to thinking, memory, and learning. Brain fog is just one aspect of the negative effects COVID appears to have in some patients. But what do these problems look like in real life?
- You find it difficult to stay focused on a task.
- You frequently lose items (such as keys or eyeglasses).
- You know the word for something but you can’t quite remember it.
- It takes a lot more mental effort to get through your daily tasks.
- You find it hard to multi-task or prioritize tasks throughout the day.
- You’re physically tired all the time, even if you feel you slept well.
- You make more mistakes than usual at home or at work.
- You lose your train of thought when you are speaking.
- You find it difficult to follow conversations when others are speaking.
Why Does Covid Cause Problems With the Brain if it’s a Respiratory Disease?
There is still no conclusive data that explains exactly how COVID-19 affects the brain. However, research points to several mechanisms in the virus and in our immune system that cause structural and functional changes in the brain. (1) Some scientists believe that the immune response caused by COVID-19 results in inflammation, which may cause damage to the lining of the brain’s blood vessels. (5) Though this data is from one small-scale 2022 study, research is ongoing.
Cognition Testing at Neurozone
If you’re concerned about brain fog and other post-COVID cognition problems, come to Neurozone for comprehensive testing. At your consultation, Erin will determine which tests are best for your circumstances.
Brain fog can affect our ability to stay focused. An attention assessment helps the clinician determine various elements of attention including focus, distractibility, and impulse control.
Assessment of Executive Function
Executive function is a term used to describe a multitude of cognitive processes. Testing may examine attention, working memory, planning and organization, and task completion.
Auditory Processing Assessment
Auditory processing disorders are cognitive difficulties related to hearing and sounds. An auditory processing assessment can examine several aspects of your auditory processing abilities, including auditory discrimination, auditory memory skills, and auditory attention skills.
Cognitive Abilities Assessment
If you feel you’re “not as sharp” as you were before COVID, inquire about a cognitive abilities test at Neurozone. A number of assessment options for executive function, oral language, non-verbal intelligence, and other related cognitive skills are available, depending on the needs of the individual.
Neurofeedback for Brain Fog
Neurofeedback therapy is a collection of tests and protocols that help to train your brain back to its baseline. Erin measures brainwave activity with qEEG brain mapping, after which, she can gain valuable insight into your brain’s functioning ability. From here, she can develop your individualized neurofeedback treatment plan.
Neurofeedback involves protocols that either reinforce or inhibit brainwave activity. There are five brainwave types; delta, theta, alpha, beta, and gamma. Each wave has a different amplitude and wavelength, and each is responsible for specific cognitive processes while we are awake and while we are asleep. The role of a neurofeedback protocol is to adjust brainwave activity according to the goals of the treatment plan.
Every neurofeedback treatment plan is unique. It may include a single protocol, or multiple protocols to achieve the desired results. And, like going to the gym helps you become stronger physically, multiple neurofeedback sessions can help you gain stronger cognitive function and reduce or eliminate the most disruptive aspects of post-COVID brain fog.
For more information about neurofeedback protocols at Neurozone, please see our list of therapies and programs.
Erin Badour, CCC-SLP is a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist who has worked with children, teens, and adults for many years at her Playa del Rey office. As she has helped many before, she can help you to retrain your brain, achieve better focus, deal with brain fog, and fight other frustrating symptoms of Long COVID syndrome. That all starts with an initial meeting to find out more about what you’ve been experiencing. Book your personal consultation at Neurozone. Contact us to book your free consultation by filling out this form.
Tips for Improving Your Cognition
Many clients ask how they can improve their brain function outside of the therapy room.
- Eat a Healthy Diet – In particular, foods high in omega-3 (such as oily fish, tuna, and salmon) may improve symptoms of cognitive decline and mental health conditions. (6)
- Exercise Regularly – It doesn’t have to be an intense workout! Regular exercise 3 times a week for 30 minutes a day is a great way to improve your alertness and overall brain function.
- Manage Stress – Give yourself downtime when it’s needed and understand your physical and mental limitations. Do more of the things you enjoy and don’t overcrowd your schedule. Make time for peaceful reflection and use it to unwind and decompress.
- Improve Your Sleep Hygiene – Avoid using your phone in bed, limit blue light when you’re winding down, and maintain a consistent sleep schedule. Aim to get up and go to bed at the same time every day (even on weekends).
- Build Routines – Maintain healthy habits and build everyday routines to help with day-to-day tasks. Many people find journals, phone reminders, and calendars useful to create structure for daily activities and to avoid forgetting important dates and events.
Cost of Neurofeedback for Brain Fog in Santa Monica, CA
Find relief from COVID-related brain fog. Come for a free consultation at Neurozone! Our offices in Redondo Beach, Santa Monica, and Playa del Rey provide services to clients in nearby Marina del Rey, Brentwood, Westwood, Pacific Palisades, and beyond. Every neurofeedback treatment plan looks different from the next, so costs will vary according to your personal circumstances.
Please get in touch with us by calling (310) 821-3640 to book your appointment.
For more information about neurofeedback brain training for brain fog, anxiety, ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, concussion/TBI, and communication disorders and delays, please browse our website. You can also read more about brain training in our blog.
- Citizen Scientists Take on the Challenge of Long-Haul COVID-19. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Published September 3, 2020. Accessed September 22, 2022. https://www.nih.gov/citizen-scientists-take-challenge-long-haul-covid-19
- Guo P, Benito Ballesteros A, Yeung SP, et al. COVCOG 2: Cognitive and Memory Deficits in Long COVID: A Second Publication From the COVID and Cognition Study. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience. 2022;14. doi:10.3389/fnagi.2022.804937 https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnagi.2022.804937/full
- Asadi‐Pooya AA, Akbari A, Emami A, et al. Long COVID syndrome‐associated brain fog. Journal of Medical Virology. Published online October 24, 2021. doi:10.1002/jmv.27404 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8662118/
- CDC. Long COVID or Post-COVID Conditions. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published September 16, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/long-term-effects/index.html
- Jennings G, Monaghan A, Xue F, Duggan E, Romero-Ortuño R. Comprehensive Clinical Characterisation of Brain Fog in Adults Reporting Long COVID Symptoms. Journal of Clinical Medicine. 2022;11(12):3440. doi:10.3390/jcm11123440 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9224578/