Covid on the Brain - A Podcast
Author: Negeen Halabian
COVID-19 has impacted many aspects of life, including science. While COVID-19 has created a unique learning opportunity for science students, it has highlighted the gap that exists between academia and the public. For example, despite the dozens of articles that are published daily about COVID, the public is generally unaware of the neurological and long-term effects of the virus. Recent studies suggest that at least 1 in 3 COVID-19 survivors experience neurological complications, and symptoms can linger for up to 6 months after the initial infection. Managing and supporting these patients has been proven challenging as everyone's presentations and needs are unique.
Patients can present with a range of symptoms such as headaches, loss of smell or taste, confusion, and even stroke. A major component of supporting these individuals is educating the public about these neurological complications and addressing the existing stigma COVID-19 survivors are experiencing.
As graduate students from disciplines including psychiatry, psychology and neuroscience, we took it upon ourselves to analyze the ever-growing available research on the effects of COVID-19 on the brain and present it in an easily understandable way. This project started as a simple course assignment for NEURO700 aiming to develop our science communication skills as young scientists. While researching and developing our projects, we realized there is a stark lack of conversation about the specific neurological symptoms COVID-19 survivors are experiencing. Many of these individuals had resorted to online forums to voice their complaints and lacked the proper education and support from the science community to help them in their journey to recovery.
We decided to turn these projects into an online medium for education, mutual communication and support. We chose a podcast format as podcasts are readily available on a wide range of platforms and are relatively inexpensive to produce. We aimed to design our podcast such that it can attract a general audience, but also inspire the science community.
By bridging the gap between SARS-CoV-2 research and the general public we want to reinvigorate the audience’s interest in evidence-based science and spark a passion for new scientific discoveries. Each episode of our podcast has focused on a different aspect of COVID-19’s effect on the human brain from a variety of perspectives with multiple guest speakers. We have formatted our podcast in an interview talk show format to add a conversational element to the science presented in each episode. You can check out our webpage or on Spotify under the handle name “COVID on the Brain”.