The European University of Cyprus Coordinates Research on the Impact of Post-COVID Syndrome

The School of Science at the European University Cyprus in collaboration with the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm is conducting research on the physical effects observed in patients with post-COVID syndrome. The research is led by Lecturer in Anatomy/Physiology of the Sport Science and Physical Education Programme at the European University Cyprus School of Science, Dr Andrea Tryphonos, and the initial findings have recently been published in the prestigious journal JAMA Network Open.

Patients with post-COVID syndrome often experience symptoms such as extreme fatigue, shortness of breath and muscle weakness, which may persist for several months after coronavirus infection and cannot be explained by another disease. The aforementioned symptoms seem to worsen with exercise, which has led major players, including the World Health Organization, to advocate avoidance of exercise in post-COVID patients. However, hypomobility, in the long term, increases the risk of cardiovascular and other diseases.

This new study changes the existing evidence by showing that patients with post-COVID syndrome respond as well to exercise as their healthy peers, with no worsening of symptoms or increase in inflammation levels after exercise. These findings suggest the need to review the strict recommendations to avoid exercise in patients with post-COVID. The researchers advocate the gradual incorporation of exercise into the rehabilitation of these patients, as this is given to reduce the risk of other conditions associated with hypomobility.

In addition, participants underwent a plethora of medical tests, including blood tests, heart ultrasound, spirometry for lung function, muscle strength tests, neurophysiological tests and muscle biopsies. Early analyses show that post-COVID patients maintain relatively good cardiac and respiratory function but have problems in skeletal muscle (62% developed myopathies) compared to their healthy peers. Research is ongoing and the next goal of the researchers is to study muscle biopsies in detail to investigate the possible mechanisms behind these myopathies. Finally, it is expected that the patients will undergo a follow-up after one year to assess the progress of their rehabilitation with regard to the recorded myopathies.

The research was funded by the Center for Innovative Medicine 2022-24, Tornspiran Foundation, Magnus Bergvalls Foundation, Lars Hierta Minne Foundation, Åke Wiberg Foundation.

Dr. Andrea Tryphonos will present the findings of the study at the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine in Boston in May 2024.

More information on the survey can be found here: Functional Limitations and Exercise Intolerance in Patients With Post-COVID Condition: A Randomized Crossover Clinical Trial | Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation | JAMA Network Open | JAMA Network

Source: European University Cyprus | News (