As I sit at my desk, sniffling and nursing a scratchy throat from all the dust my packing has thrown up, I found a pair of articles quite timely.
From the Washington Post, new research explains how your brain manages illnesses on your body's behalf:
Two recent studies published in Nature report that specific parts of the brain rapidly respond to illness and coordinate how the body counters it. This new understanding may also hold clues about why some people continue to have chronic problems such as long covid months after a bout of infection.
Big or small, warm or coldblooded, vertebrate or invertebrate, animals also contend with life-threatening infections from viruses, bacteria and other pathogens and “have some sort of response that’s very similar to this,” said [said Anoj Ilanges, a biologist at the Janelia Research Campus], who co-wrote one of the studies.
We tend to look like we are not doing much when we are sick — we are, after all, probably in bed and not moving — but the brain is hard at work. The researchers looked for genetic markers of activity in the brain soon after they injected their mice with a pro-inflammatory agent. “Surprisingly, if you look at the brain, there’s high levels of activity across many regions,” Ilanges said.
James Fallows might find that interesting if he weren't really done with his bout of long Covid:
I was annoyed to become infected, mainly because of the time-sink and inconvenience it involved. But in my 12-day run of testing positive (and being isolated) in June, Covid as I experienced it was a nuisance but not a “problem.”
But starting about six weeks ago, I was aware of feeling just … bad. This is the time to bring up another relevant background point, which is that the most robust part of my inevitably aging body has been its cardiovascular system.
To skip ahead in the story, all the complaints I’d had, even the finger-tingling, appeared to fit one of the ever-emerging, still-not-understood patterns of Covid after-effects. I don’t know whether to call this “long Covid,” or whether it has any bearing to Covid at all
After hearing my symptoms, our nurse-practitioner ordered a range of tests, including a blood reading that is not part of the routine lab panel. This was for the level of vitamin B12 in my system.
As it happened, the test showed a low B12 level. And as it also happens, in the ever-expanding realm of what’s known or guessed about Covid effects, one possibility involves B12 absorption.
Like Fallows, I also got Covid in June, and I felt less productive and less active this summer than in previous years. Maybe Covid?