UAB starting clinical trial to treat ‘brain fog’ in COVID-19 patients

Coronavirus

UAB Hospital (UAB)

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April 29 2021 07:00 pm

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A new clinical trial at the University of Alabama at Birmingham is testing a proven rehabilitation method to treat “brain fog” in patients who’ve recovered from COVID-19.

Studies done in France and the United States reveal that a third of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 have experienced memory loss and other cognitive difficulties in the months after their recovery, better known as “brain fog.”

A new clinical trial at UAB is testing a proven rehabilitation method with a record of success in restoring lost function. Known as constraint-induced therapy, it is used around the world to help patients regain limb function and language abilities after stroke. The treament was developed by Edward Taub, director of the Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy Research Group, in collaboration with colleagues at UAB. CI Therapy

Using MRI scans, doctors have shown that the therapy rewires the brain following two weeks of intensive training in the clinic and ongoing practice at home. The improvement in function that results remains even after years have passed, says Taub.

Some 97% of the thousands of stroke patients who have taken part in CI Therapy have seen meaningful improvement, and the average patient uses his or her affected limb five times more post-therapy than pre-therapy.

With pilot funding from UAB’s Integrative Center for Aging Research, Taub and Uswatte will recruit at least 20 adult patients — anyone age 18 or older who has recovered from COVID-19 but is experiencing memory loss, brain fog or other cognitive issues. Participants will receive the training at no cost.

Taub and Uswatte aim to recruit at least 20 adult patients — anyone age 18 or older who has recovered from COVID-19 but is experiencing memory loss, brain fog or other cognitive issues. Participants will receive the training at no cost.

It involves 35 hours of therapy in the clinic, including the computer-based speed-of-processing training and a component called shaping, which involves training simulated cognitive activities in the clinic that are made progressively harder over time.

“This is not our first rodeo,” Taub said. “We have proved that the therapy works in other conditions. What got us interested here was the fact that current brain-training techniques that aim to help with brain fog work fine in the lab or in the training setting, but they do not transfer robustly to real-life situations. And if it does not transfer to life situations, why bother?”

Individuals who think they can benefit are welcome to contact the project directly at 205-934-9768 or learn more about the study at uab.edu/citherapy

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