‘Worst Hell You Could Ever Imagine': Study Hopes to Shed Light on Long-Haul COVID

Dr. Michael VanElzakker is leading a new study on why some people suffer from long-haul COVID-19, continuing to deal with symptoms long after being diagnosed

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Colin Bennett can't shake it. Months after first getting COVID-19, he continues to grapple with symptoms.

"It is absolutely the worst hell you could ever imagine," Bennett said. "You wouldn't wish this upon anyone."



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Bennett is part of a growing number of people suffering from long-haul COVID.

"What I am going through, I think of rare cancer patients. I have probably gone through 50 to 70 different symptoms by now," Bennett said.

Dr. Michael VanElzakker is the scientist leading a new study, looking to analyze if the brain can shed some light on what causes some people to keep dealing with symptoms so long after diagnosis. He notes that the brains of those suffering long-haul COVID look different than those who are not.

"I think a lot of us knew there would be long-term consequences," VanElzakker said.

His hope is to gain a better understanding of why some suffer from this.

"We are interested in doing brain scans of people who have ongoing symptoms of fatigue or trouble concentrating to understand if there is inflammation in parts of the brain," VanElzakker said.

The study is looking to recruit 10-15 long-haulers with the hope of being able to treat, or stop, long COVID.

"The hope is that we can help people recover like they are used to recovering from a cold or flu, get them back to a normal baseline," VanElzakker said. "If we can understand the mechanisms that are driving the symptoms, then hopefully, we can help them be better."

VanElzakker says the goal is to hopefully have some research in the coming months.

"It is an awful human tragedy. It is scientifically interesting for sure, it is sort of a new frontier, so there is an excitement with the hope that we can figure out what is happening to people and hopefully help them recover," he said.

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