The Brain and Covid Strides and Speculations One year on, science has discovered much about the effects on the brain, but there is still much to learn. BY CARL SHERMAN ILLUSTRATION BY J.F. PODEVIN I T WAS NEARLY A YEAR AGO WHEN LARISSA MALCOLM, 47, a social worker in the Cleveland area, tested positive for Covid-19. “I wasn’t sick enough to be hospitalized,” she says. “I never coughed.” But she did have a gallery of—then, anyway—mysterious symptoms. “I lost my sense of smell; I felt tingly, like electric shocks through my body. I felt there was a short in my brain.” For the first time in her life, she had panic attacks. She felt generally confused and reported this to the local health department. “I was told it isn’t part of Covid,” she says. Malcolm’s sense of smell never returned completely. She still takes medication to keep her anxiety at bay. And she still struggles with confusion and memory loss. “I go into a room and can’t remember why,” she says.
30 DANA FOUNDATION CEREBRUM | Spr ing 2021
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