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Marquette researchers looking for more long-haul COVID-19 survivors

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Posted at 5:31 AM, Jul 28, 2021

MILWAUKEE — You may have heard of a loss of taste or “brain fog” lingering after a COVID-19 diagnosis. What about excessive hair loss, or an elevated heart rate after a workout?

Leaders at Marquette University’s Athletic & Human Performance Research Center are working on helping the survivors.

“We're particularly looking for people who had severe effects of COVID-19. Most people have been hospitalized and recovered,” said Professor Sandra Hunter, Director of Marquette University’s Athletic & Human Performance Research Center.

Through a series of heart-lung function tests, Hunter and her team found out of the 50 COVID-19 survivors studied so far, many report heart issues.

“We know that people with COVID-19 have been reporting they're trying to exercise and their heart rate remains elevated for a long period of time, even days on end," said Hunter.

Along with studying the body, each post-COVID patent is interviewed. A top lingering symptom is pain.

Marie Bement is the pain specialist in this study. She noticed some patients were startled by how their body responds to the study. “People will come do our study and do our breathing and say, 'Oh, this actually hurts!’” said Bement.

Even more than a year out, many patients say they have inflammation in the joints, excessive hair loss, and trouble concentrating.

“Just not quite as sharp as they used to be, to actually having trouble sleeping at night. There's a whole range," said Hunter.

They plan to expand their study outside the walls of the research center and go out into the community. Hunter wants to help our most vulnerable populations.

“Minorities and people who are underrepresented in the population. There's so much we still don’t know and we're over 12 months into this," Hunter said.

One thing Bement and others do know from this research is that there will not be a “one size fits all” solution. "When our body perceives pain, it wants to turn it off. We have amazing ability to turn off our pain," said Bement.

If you are interested in taking part in this study, the researchers want to hear from you. The patients must be at least three months past their diagnosis. Volunteers will receive free body composition and bone density results for their time. You can learn more by clicking here.

For more information or to schedule:
E-mail vol4researchexsc@marquette.edu or call (414) 288-2110

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