Scientists want to treat Long Covid by zapping the brain with electricity

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(sorry had to)



I’d like to point out that, in addition to the calumny on modern ECT therapy, what they’re describing here is not ECT.

tDCS is using the same sort of technique that you use to charge your earbuds: it isn’t sticking an electrode in your brainmeat, it’s setting up an electrical field which stimulates electrical activity by induction.

A similar concept is TMS, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, which sets up a magnetic field which can induce an electrical reaction in targeted parts of the brain.

In both cases, we don’t know exactly why they work, although there is evidence that TMS is more effective. But then, we don’t know why ECT works either, and there’s a whole world of difference between the “I don’t know” of, say, me, and the “I don’t know” of someone like Milena Čukić.


Oh lordy…
Just wait 'til the Q Anoners hear about this!
The Darwin Awards web site is gonna get hammered!

Oof, that sounds like a… highly problematic study. Their “proof” that people who experienced living through covid didn’t have it is a test which is already known to not be reliable, but especially for long covid, which is associated with a weak antibody response. The test result they’re using as a disproof of long covid is, in fact, a symptom of it.

On the other hand:

• Approximately 1 in 3 individuals experienced fatigue 12 or more weeks following COVID-19 diagnosis.

• Approximately 1 in 5 individuals exhibited cognitive impairment 12 or more weeks following COVID-19 diagnosis.

It’s disturbing.

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I agree that it’s disturbing, and worthy of intervention, regardless of how and why it happens.

I say that because, based on your point about weak antibody responses, the causality could go either way: “Individuals with weak antibody responses are both more likely to get long covid and more likely to test negative on antibody tests” vs “Individuals get long covid symptoms at similar rates whether they’ve had covid or not.”

The study you linked indicates that more severe covid cases are much more likely to result in long covid than mild or asymptomatic cases (~80% for cases that resulted in hispitalization vs >30% overall). That makes sense to the extent that a lot of long covid symptoms probably result from things like damage to the lungs, or chronic inflammation, or something throwing off the immune system after a difficult illness.

This is not what the French study found, which is that the only long covid symptom correlated with a positive test (antibody or PCR during the infection) vs. personal belief in having been infected is anosmia, the least non-specific symptom but also one that happens in the nose, not the lungs. And a priori, that would be very unusual and unlikely to just be a coincidence (it would depend on the prevalence of covid in the confirmed vs unconfirmed populations, the prevalence of long covid in both populations, and something that causes long covid to manifest differently between those populations in one specific way).

For obvious reasons, neither study could possibly compare subjects now vs before having (or believing to have had) covid. They rely on people’s memories of symptoms before and after having a socially sanctioned justification for noticing and complaining about them, which historically has been a poor/unreliable indicator. I’m sure some of those symptoms were caused by past covid infection, and I strongly suspect many others were already present but not salient to the individuals, or related to the other effects of the pandemic (less exercise, more stress, weight gain, depression, anxiety). And if (in some subset of cases) those symptoms really are treatable with transcranial electrical stimulation, that also strongly suggests the source of (that subset of) those symptoms is in the brain, not the lungs, or the immune system, or elsewhere in the body.

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