The widely reported death of the founder of a nationwide chain of steak houses last week put the spotlight on prolonged neurological symptoms linked to Covid-19.

After experiencing a mild case of the coronavirus last November, entrepreneur W. Kent Taylor developed tinnitus so debilitating he reportedly told a friend that he had not slept more than two hours a night for several months.

The CEO of the Texas Roadhouse chain died by suicide March 25 in Louisville, Kentucky, and in a statement to the local paper the company attributed his death to the relentless ringing in his ears that had become “unbearable.”

Early recognition of lasting neurologic symptoms associated with Covid-19 led specialists at Northwestern Medicine, Chicago, to open one of the nation’s first clinics devoted to treating neurological long haulers in May of 2020.

In a study published March 23 in the journal Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, clinic director Igor Koralnik, MD, and colleagues reported on 100 consecutive patients treated at the clinic between May and November of 2020 who had relatively mild initial Covid-19 presentations.

The study findings add to the growing anecdotal evidence suggesting that persistent neurologic symptoms may be common among patients without severe initial symptoms.

A main message from our study is that even in patients with mild initial disease, the potential for long-lasting neurologic symptoms is there, and these symptoms can be debilitating
study co-author and Northwestern medical student Jeffry R. Clark, told BreakingMED.

They concluded that the long-term impact of long-haul symptoms related to Covid-19 “on quality of life and potential return to normalcy, through lost productivity and lingering cognitive dysfunction, may be substantial as the pandemic continues to escalate.”

“Further longitudinal studies are needed to evaluate the cognitive effect of SARS-CoV-2 infection on non-hospitalized individuals, as they comprise the majority of Covid-19 patients and may significantly impact workforce productivity,” they wrote.


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