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Recovery of neurophysiological measures in post-COVID fatigue: a 12-month longitudinal follow-up study

Lookup NU author(s): Natalie Maffitt, Dr Maria Germann, Dr Anne Baker, Professor Mark BakerORCiD, Professor Stuart BakerORCiD, Dr Demetris Soteropoulos



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© The Author(s) 2024. One of the major consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the significant incidence of persistent fatigue following resolution of an acute infection (i.e. post-COVID fatigue). We have shown previously that, in comparison to healthy controls, those suffering from post-COVID fatigue exhibit changes in muscle physiology, cortical circuitry, and autonomic function. Whether these changes preceded infection, potentially predisposing people to developing post-COVID fatigue, or whether the changes were a consequence of infection was unclear. Here we present results of a 12-month longitudinal study of 18 participants from the same cohort of post-COVID fatigue sufferers to investigate these correlates of fatigue over time. We report improvements in self-perception of the impact of fatigue via questionnaires, as well as significant improvements in objective measures of peripheral muscle fatigue and autonomic function, bringing them closer to healthy controls. Additionally, we found reductions in muscle twitch tension rise times, becoming faster than controls, suggesting that the improvement in muscle fatigability might be due to a process of adaptation rather than simply a return to baseline function.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Maffitt NJ, Germann M, Baker AME, Baker MR, Baker SN, Soteropoulos DS

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Scientific Reports

Year: 2024

Volume: 14

Online publication date: 17/04/2024

Acceptance date: 08/04/2024

Date deposited: 30/04/2024

ISSN (electronic): 2045-2322

Publisher: Nature Research


DOI: 10.1038/s41598-024-59232-y

PubMed id: 38632415


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