“Brain stem dysfunction in chronic fatigue syndrome and long-COVID patients could contribute to their neurological and cardiorespiratory symptoms, and movement disorder,” he said.

“There seems to be a lot going on in the brain stem in both these conditions, so an experiment will be needed in the future to find out exactly what is happening in the brain; we can’t see that through the MRI.”

He said he and his colleagues were actively working to recruit more patients for the study, to see if they matched the initial findings.

Long COVID is still not well understood as it has been only a very short time, in research terms, since the pandemic began.

Despite that, it is estimated that up to 43 per cent of people infected by COVID develop some form of long COVID.


A federal parliamentary inquiry into long COVID concluded recently, with medical experts submitting that the condition was probably under-reported and needed to be dealt with through GPs and broader regulatory measures, such as making antivirals more freely available.

Off the back of the inquiry, federal health officials are developing a strategy on how to deal with cases of long COVID.

Meanwhile, Queensland has downplayed the need for action against the condition, with Queensland Health submitting to the federal inquiry that the state did not have high numbers of long-COVID patients.

It’s estimated up to 250,000 people are living with ME/CFS in Australia, with the condition still the subject of much debate in the medical community around its status and how to care for patients.

The Griffith University research has been published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience.

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