Pulmonary Wellness Foundation Partners with University of Dayton Researcher to Study Treatment for COVID ‘Long Haulers’

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Dr Noah Greenspan (PT, DPT, CCS, EMT-B) is continuing commitment to COVID-19 long haulers with newest research partners

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“If things go the way we think they will, this could be a game-changer,” Noah Greenspan said. “We know that COVID is highly inflammation-based, and depending on how an individual’s body reacts to that inflammation, we could see a variety of different symptom presentations."

A new rehabilitation treatment for COVID-19 “long haulers” — people who contract mild or moderate illness but then continue to suffer symptoms like headaches, fatigue, fever, breathing difficulty, and smell loss for weeks or months — is being studied by Noah Greenspan of the Pulmonary Wellness Foundation and University of Dayton assistant professor of psychology Julie Walsh-Messinger.

The study, which is recruiting participants now, investigates the effects of a combination of treadmill exercise and oxygen therapy to improve the mental and physical health of people with post-COVID syndrome.

“If things go the way we think they will, this could be a game-changer,” Greenspan said. “We know that COVID is highly inflammation-based, and depending on how an individual’s body reacts to that inflammation, we could see a variety of different symptom presentations. Many long haulers suffer from exercise and activity intolerance and/or post-exercise malaise and inflammation, but there are ways we can work around these systemic challenges. By quieting these inflammatory responses using both exercise and supplemental oxygen, we are seeing people’s exercise tolerance and symptom burden improving and in many cases resolving completely.”

Participants must be female, between the ages of 18 and 55, who contracted COVID in February, March or April 2020. They must have been clinically diagnosed and continue to experience symptoms. They do not require a positive PCR or antibody test. They also must be in the New York City area. More information is available on the Pulmonary Wellness Foundation website https://pulmonarywellness.org/research and anyone interested in participating in the study can email consult@covidpt.org to set-up a screening evaluation.

The study is the latest collaboration between Walsh-Messinger and Greenspan, who recently worked together to show that young adults — and not just people who are middle-aged — are susceptible to lingering COVID symptoms. Read more on their findings, which are under peer review, here.

“Researchers are making gains in understanding ‘long haulers’ but there is still much work to be done,” said Walsh-Messinger, who first connected with Greenspan as a patient suffering from post-COVID syndrome and then underwent the treatment being studied at his Post-COVID Rehabilitation and Recovery Clinic. “The protocol we are studying has the potential to improve patients’ heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and overall physical and mental wellbeing. And, it could make a big difference because it has the potential to be easily adopted and administered anywhere.”

The work builds on efforts by the Pulmonary Wellness Foundation, a nonprofit organization that offers free resources and support that can be accessed virtually for people everywhere experiencing lingering COVID as well as other cardiovascular, pulmonary and complex medical conditions. More information is available at: pulmonarywellness.org.

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Kristen Mondshein
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