Newcastle University researchers have shed light on one of the most common side effects of COVID-19: fatigue. They may indeed have a treatment for this debilitating condition.

They have begun a new study to test the effectiveness of a TENS machine to alleviate the fatigue in patients with long COVID. This device is most commonly used in childbirth to alleviate pain.

This is according to a press release by the institution published on Thursday. 

They found that people with post-COVID fatigue showed underactivity in three specific areas of the nervous system.

  • a slower reaction in specific areas of the brain because of underactivity in specific cortical circuits

  • an imbalance in the autonomic nervous system – the network of nerves that regulates unconscious body processes such as blood pressure and the rate of breathing was found to be impaired

  • muscle abnormalities – muscle fibers became more easily fatigued after exercise than in people without post-COVID fatigue

“These abnormalities in the results on objective tests show that fatigue in long Covid is a measurable disease and these tests may, in time, help us understand how changes in the nervous system contribute to fatigue,” said Dr. Demetris Soteropoulos, Senior Lecturer in Motor Systems Neuroscience at Newcastle University who led the research.

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