Catholic Culture News
Catholic Culture News

Brain damage feared: not from Covid itself, but from the lockdown

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Feb 23, 2022

A research team at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) has raised a new concern about the Covid epidemic. Their data show that “for some people, societal and lifestyle disruptions during the pandemic may have triggered inflammation in the brain that can affect mental health.”

The study found “higher levels of translocator protein in certain brain regions” among people who experienced “severe mood, mental, and fatigue symptoms.” These results were evident both in people who had contracted the virus and those who had escaped it. In other words, their research suggests that the brain inflammation might have been caused not by the disease, but by the lockdown.

We already know some of the costs of the lockdown: the jobs lost, the businesses ruined, the school-years missed, the strain on families, the spike in suicides and drug overdoses, the medical screenings postponed, the undetected cancers that metastasized. To all these, the MGH study adds another.

“While COVID-19 research has seen an explosion in the literature, the impact of pandemic-related societal and lifestyle disruptions on brain health among the uninfected has remained under-explored,” lead author Ludovica Brusaferri, said in the release.

The Covid epidemic has taken an enormous toll of suffering and death. But the lockdown has also taken a heavy toll. And make no mistake: the ills that I list above were not caused by Covid; they were not the results of the disease. (In some cases, they were the cause of other diseases. These were the results of public-health policies.

When I wrote Contagious Faith, I questioned whether the lockdown might have caused more suffering and death than the illness it was designed to prevent: a cure worse than the disease. Today—two years after the onset the “two weeks to flatten the curve”—there is no longer much question.

Covid caused a public-health emergency. The lockdown caused a public-health disaster.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a current donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

  • Posted by: dover beachcomber - Mar. 05, 2022 3:34 AM ET USA

    Catholics might have been less likely to fall prey to these lockdown-related effects if Church leaders had seized the opportunity to show how the Faith can transform our fears and self-absorptions, even under the direst circumstances (which COVID was not). Instead, they closed the churches and in many dioceses offered very little practical spiritual advice on coping in a Christian way.

  • Posted by: loumiamo4057 - Feb. 26, 2022 2:56 PM ET USA

    Phil, I suppose I got fixated on this phrase, "The Covid epidemic has taken an enormous toll of suffering and death," because it just isn't true. Covid isn't much more than a flu, unless one has three or more comorbidities, but a person in that situation could have a regular cold be the straw that broke the camel's back. Everything about covid has been a lie, all designed to gain control of the people. Why do you think the CDC was and is hiding information?

  • Posted by: Phil - Feb. 26, 2022 10:06 AM ET USA

    luamiamo, I'm afraid you completely missed my point. Read the last line again.

  • Posted by: loumiamo4057 - Feb. 26, 2022 6:16 AM ET USA

    I wholeheartedly disagree with you Phil, covid didn't cause anything, individuals in and out of government manipulating us for their own gain is what caused everything, and it is still going on. I hope you noticed the news, from The NY Times rag itself, that the CDC has been hiding covid information that reveals their culpability and chicanery. Maybe it's time the rest of us recognized the new spelling for Elites, that is, FRAUDS.

  • Posted by: dcnmthompson7484 - Feb. 25, 2022 11:00 PM ET USA

    As a research scientist, I have to say that this is the reason I enjoy the empirical sciences so much. Because good science, that is properly performed reaches conclusions that support the very way of life the Church teaches. And, why wouldn’t it? God is the author and if we use the reason he gave us, we should reach those very conclusions.that he gave us a life to fully live. Not by distortion but proper use of our faculties.

  • Posted by: nix898049 - Feb. 23, 2022 4:54 PM ET USA

    It would be interesting to compare the brains of those who experienced lockdown with those who spent time in the gulag of Russia or Chinese internment camps. Have just finished the Smoke of Satan. Will try to implement the DO and DON'T recommendations. Keep up the great work.