Shedding Light on the Long-Haul Effects of COVID — Hope on the Horizon?

Photo: Our grateful thanks to photographer Raphael Renter on Unsplash!

by Connie Hernandez, ND

Long-haul COVID’s more alarming features include persistent neurodegenerative changes that may manifest as:

  • Brain fog
  • Memory loss
  • Psychiatric symptoms
  • Sleep disruptions
  • Abnormalities of smell and taste 
Dr. Connie Hernandez, ND

These enduring effects have a lot in common with the symptoms of tick-borne diseases, mold-induced illness, and environmental and chemotherapeutic toxicities – also chronic neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases such as autism, Alzheimers, Parkinson’s Disease, MS, ALS, and schizophrenia.

It’s no stretch of the imagination to speculate that although these conditions differ, they may share certain mechanisms.

The problems start with toxicity and chronic infection. The suspected or established connections include:

  • Toxoplasmosis and schizophrenia
  • Clostridium and autism
  • EBV and MS
  • Herpes virus and alzheimer’s disease
  • E coli and h pylori with Parkinsons
  • Fungal infections with ALS
  • Other CNS (central nervous system) disorders

Acute infectious processes move into hard-to-detect stealth phases as they do their dirty work of dysregulating the immune system and promoting pro-inflammatory cytokines.

These inflammatory molecules contribute to the development of fibrotic and sclerotic tissue, disrupt mitochondrial and neuronal function, increase neurotoxic glutamate, cause an influx of calcium into the cellular cytoplasm, and promote cerebral edema. We see small-vessel disease and iron storage abnormalities.

Hope for Treating Long-Haul COVID?

Adding to the many botanical and pharmaceutical therapeutic options that can address these disruptions, there is growing interest in photobiomodulation (PBM).

PBM is a type of light therapy that uses low levels of red and near-infrared lights of specific wavelengths. It is not only antimicrobial, but is also used to help heal and regenerate tissue.  

We introduced our readers to a form of PBM several years ago, after we spent time with German researcher Dr. Michael Weber, who showed us his research and clinical data on the use of PBM in phytodynamic tumor therapy. Dr. Weber gave us a demonstration of the antimicrobial  efficacy of intravenous (I.V.) light therapies in conditions such as Lyme Disease.

Transcranial and intranasal PBM devices are used in research and for home use to increase circulation and brain oxygenation to stimulate new neuron growth, and to alleviate neurodegenerative conditions through numerous other mechanisms.

As light energy is absorbed by the mitochondria, positive effects are seen on gene transcription, inflammation, cellular energy cycles, endothelial flexibility, and neural coherence.

Studies underway at major research centers over the last two decades have found that six minutes of self-administered twice-daily PBM therapy improves mild to moderate dementia.

Researchers at Jefferson University are exploring the positive cognitive effects of a combination of PBM and Neurofeedback on Parkinsons, Alzheimers, and the mitigation of long-haul COVID symptoms.

The research on light therapies of specific frequencies is helping us crack the code on treatment of brain injuries, whatever their precipitating cause, and it’s shedding a welcome light on our prospects for solving the problems of Long-Haul COVID.

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