A couple of months ago, I blogged about my Long COVID symptoms of brain fog. At the time, I had been referred to the Cleveland Clinic’s ReCOVery program; they assessed me and I was re-assured that I did not have the beginnings of dementia, but rather a fairly typical after-effect of having COVID. The next steps were to meet with a speech therapist and an integrative medicine doctor.
I met with the speech therapist in mid-December for the first time and was evaluated in a number of different tests; the good news again was that there were no signs of dementia, but there was some cognitive deficit as a result of my COVID experience. She recommended I get the book Keep Sharp: Build a Better Brain at Any Age by Dr. Sanjay Gupta; this book is available on-line, in your locally-owned bookstore, and most libraries, and shares strategies for keeping the brain at its best throughout our lives. The therapist and I talked about my symptoms and what the path forward would be–including getting approval from the program at the Cleveland Clinic and my insurance company to move forward with treatment. I met with her again in January and will begin regular appointments every two weeks.
The most significant recommendation was that I go to a website: http://www.brainhq.com, get a membership, and do the exercises on the website. (This is not a paid endorsement.) 5-6 days per week I spend about 20 minutes doing the exercises. They have gotten progressively more challenging and over time the program will add more areas of brain function. Currently I am working on brain speed, attention to detail, and auditory attention. Although they look like brain games, I do not really find them to be enjoyable. In fact, it is pretty humbling to get so many wrong responses, but the program–which uses artificial intellegence to sense when I am getting tired/sloppy–adjusts so that I am slowly improving my brain function. I hope to share more details as I continue on the program.
I also had a virtual meeting with a physician in the Integrative Medicine department at the Cleveland Clinic. She went over a slew of test results from previous blood draws and made recommendations about dietary changes and mineral supplements that could help. I have adopted those and am making an effort to eat more berries, whole/multigrain foods, as well as cruciferous vegetables. I am beginning to see some progress but I understand the process will be a “long-haul.”
As I noted in my blog post in December, if you are experiencing brain fog, take the time to discuss it with your physician. It turns out that there are ways to improve brain healthy aside from just exercising more. There may even be a program near you to address what you are experiencing.
More updates are forthcoming.