Can Long-COVID be Prevented by the Mind?

July 1, 2022 Minding Corona No Comments

I think so. Unfortunately, there is no science about this. There are no data, which is weird, and no relevant interest from scientists.

June 29, 2022

 DailyTotal
Cases worldwide883.238551.808.466
Deaths worldwide1.6526.356.460

(Note that people are still dying ― probably many more than these official numbers. Also, many get seriously ill or are otherwise candidates for long-COVID.)

There has hardly been any science about the mind as a causal factor in COVID-19. Meanwhile, I published an article about it in a top medical journal, but I’m a lone ranger.

Symptoms of long-COVID

The most frequently reported symptoms are (ongoing or returning more than four weeks after COVID-19, sometimes lasting months or years and causing disability):

  • extreme tiredness
  • shortness of breath
  • chest tightness or pain
  • problems with concentration and memory (‘brain fog’)
  • difficulty sleeping
  • heart palpitations
  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • needles-and-pins
  • depression or anxiety.

Seven of these symptoms are clearly mind-related. With some insight, you may notice that the other three are also frequently of psycho-somatic nature ― to no small degree.

One in five people after COVID-19 disease may be affected. This includes some people with no symptoms or mild illness with COVID-19. A study from Oxford University showed that about 37% of COVID-19 survivors, mainly from the US, experienced one or more symptoms between three and six months after diagnosis. [*] In a study published in the Lancet, most COVID-patients hospitalized in Wuhan had at least one symptom after six months, most commonly fatigue or muscle weakness (63%), sleep difficulties (26%), and anxiety or depression (23%). [**]

Causal whirlpool

I have described COVID (the disease progression, not the infection) elsewhere as being caused by a whirlpool of factors, with notably the mind as crucial in many of these. Not surprisingly, the brain has also been a primary victim in many cases up till now. Pathophysiologically, in almost any instance of serious COVID, cytokines are running around the brain in a ‘cytokine storm’ ― no exaggeration intended. Also, not surprisingly therefore, the above list indicates problems of the mind/brain in the long term.

A possibly complicating factor from the mind perspective is post-traumatic stress that can result from the COVID experience, be it inside or outside of a hospital. This kind of stress may heighten in time, like a whirlpool by itself, enhancing long-COVID.

Somatically, there is much fog about the causality of COVID-19. It might be this or that or something else. For instance, I’ve recently seen Dr. Fauci in an interview being quite disturbed by the not-knowing. Probably, this will last as long as he lives. FYI, I sent him an early version of ‘Minding Corona’ two years ago.

Broader than COVID

This whirlpool – together with mind-body-unity – can also enlighten us about the mysteries and difficulties surrounding chronic fatigue syndrome. Is it body or mind?

Both. And neither. It is a whirlpool of mutually enhancing factors. Therefore, looking for the material factor (or set of them) that explains this condition without reference to the mind is pretty difficult, and vice versa. The two camps of convinced adherents – mind vs. body – are still fighting and may do so forever without a whirlpool in sight.

Undoubtedly, a whirlpool can be real and deadly enough ― no voodoo or other magic needed. On the contrary, the whirlpool may also explain what is seen in voodoo cultures: the very real dying of ‘cursed ones’ ― one example of social nocebo.

Is there still time to use the mind if one has long-COVID?

Again, I must say that, scientifically, I don’t know. Intuitively – putting dispersed indications together – I would say, “Yes, but to a substantially smaller degree.”

If you want to take some action, I can refer to my app ‘Aurelis,’ to be found for free in the app stores. It contains mental exercises that work – as any of my developments – from the inside out. Nothing of this is mere relaxation on the outside. To be able to say something more scientifically regarding long-COVID, science would need to be done.

My prognosis is that we are on the brink of a huge lot of science in the field of psycho-somatics in general, that will finally start from a more realistic view of the mind in the first place. For this kind of science, A.I. is necessary. Unfortunately, we don’t live in the near future (yet). Meanwhile, I would take no chances and go for it. In any case, this little brainy thing under our skull can exert much more influence on health matters than medicine has ever cared to look for in the past.

You know where to find the app. It is entirely free and safe ― no data recorded. You would do me a favor by just using it.

[*] Taquet M, Derco Q, Luciano S, Geddes JR, Husain M, Harrison, et al. (28 September 2021). “Incidence, co-occurrence, and evolution of long-COVID features: A 6-month retrospective cohort study of 273,618 survivors of COVID-19”. PLOS Medicine. 20 (9): e1003773.

[**] Huang C, Huang L, Wang Y, Li X, Ren L, Gu X, et al. (January 2021). “6-month consequences of COVID-19 in patients discharged from hospital: a cohort study”. Lancet. 397 (10270): 220–32.

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