NATIONAL PARK, Wyo.
— Neuroscientist Dr. Michael M. O’Brien, an associate professor of neurology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is co-authoring a paper with neuroscientists at the National Park Service (NPS) that describes neurological symptoms that can be seen after people have contracted the coronavirus.
The two researchers, Dr. J. Michael Gorman and Dr. Peter Kowalchuk, say they found some of the symptoms, which include fatigue, memory loss and difficulty concentrating, were correlated with COV-19.
O’Brien is the co-director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the U.S. National Institutes of Health, which funded the research.
Omari, who has also worked at the Department of Defense, is a neurologist at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Bethesda, Md.
He has been working on COVID vaccines for the past year, but said he was not familiar with the NPS research.
O-Brien said he and his colleagues also observed the symptoms in a study done by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the UBS Neuroscience Institute in Zurich.
“We were actually surprised that some of those symptoms that we saw were actually caused by COVID,” O’Brian said.
The researchers found that the symptoms occurred in two groups: one group of people with mild symptoms, including fatigue and shortness of breath, and the other group of those with more severe symptoms, such as headaches and seizures.
“One group was the people who had gotten sick, had been treated with a corticosteroid and then went on to develop severe COVID symptoms,” O-Brian said, referring to the other COVID vaccine group.
“That group also had some of these neurological symptoms, but we didn’t see them with the other vaccine group.”
O’Brian and Kowalki, the coauthors of the paper, say that the NLS is continuing to monitor the COVID response, and that more study is needed to determine whether the neurological symptoms correlate with the COV vaccine.
“The COVID pandemic has created a lot of challenges,” O’-Brian said in a statement.
“There’s been a lot to do and it’s been challenging to follow people and their symptoms, as well as follow their health care professionals who have been on the front lines of the response to the pandemic.
We think this is a really important piece of the puzzle.”
O-Brian and Gorman have been working with the park service to monitor COVID responses.
The park service has been conducting health surveys at more than 4,200 sites around the country to assess COVID, and they have also been conducting more studies to determine the health of people who were vaccinated and have developed neurological symptoms.
O-Brien’s research, which is published in the journal Science Advances, is funded by the NIH and by the NNS and UBS.