for people ages 18-70 (full criteria)
Healthy Volunteers
healthy people welcome
study started
completion around
Principal Investigator
by Judith M Ford, PhD (ucsf)



The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 infection, COVID, continues to rage throughout the world with 115,000,000 confirmed cases and over 2,500,000 deaths (as of Mar 3, 2021). This translates to millions of people surviving COVID19 infection. While the lungs are ground zero, COVID tears through organ systems from brain to blood vessels. We are now beginning to see people recover but complain of ongoing problems, including lingering cognitive problems, depression, and anxiety. We have brought together 2 laboratories with complementary techniques including psychological testing and neuroimaging methods togethers with markers in the blood that may signal damage in the brain. A close look at these problems is timely and imperative if we are to understand the pathophysiology of 'COVID brain' and prepare for downstream problems.


The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has been going on for over a year worldwide, with 115,000,000 confirmed cases and over 2,500,000 deaths (as of Mar 3, 2021). We are seeing people recover from the initial COVID infection with complaints of ongoing problems. An increasing number of people are complaining of cognitive deficits and depression/anxiety.

Methodologically, we have brought together two laboratories studying neurocognitive impairment using an EEG, MRI, and behavioral approach as well as laboratory-based data. This study queries neuropsychological functions in individuals using a neuropsychological battery, EEG-based measures, functional MRI (connectivity) and structural MRI (gray and white matter volumes, myelin, micro-bleeds). In addition, we have preliminary data to show a continued increase in plasma cytokines in COVID survivors. Plasma isolated neuronal enriched extracellular vesicles (nEVs) showed an increase in amyloid beta, neurofilament light and pT181-Tau, all proteins associated with neurodegeneration.

The overall aim is to determine the extent of cognitive, clinical, and neurological damage in people recovered from COVID.


COVID Long-Haul, COVID-19, COVID-19 Pandemic, Brain Fog, Memory Deficits, Concentration Ability Impaired, Fatigue, EEG, fMRI, MRI, functional MRI, long COVID, difficulty concentrating, memory difficulty, Memory Disorders, Mental Fatigue


You can join if…

Open to people ages 18-70

  • Our studies require some in-person visits to our research lab, located at 42nd Ave and Clement St in San Francisco.
  • Because this study includes an MRI, part of the screening process will be to ensure you don't have any metal in your body, you do not have head or neck tattoos, and you are comfortable inside the MRI scanner.
  • 18-70 years with a confirmed COVID infection at least 3 months ago.
  • Negative metal screen for MRI safety
  • Normal (or corrected to normal) vision

You CAN'T join if...

  • Past or present neurological problems (including seizures and head trauma resulting in neurological or cognitive symptoms)
  • Loss of consciousness (LOC) greater than 30 minutes or any LOC with neurologic symptoms
  • Major medical conditions (e.g., seizures disorders, treatment with anticonvulsant medication, endocrine disorders, significant cardiac pathology)
  • Substance dependence, within the past year, or failed urine toxicology on the day of neuroimaging sessions
  • Known claustrophobia
  • Current pregnancy
  • IQ estimate < 70


  • San Francisco Heathcare System accepting new patients
    San Francisco California 94121 United States

Lead Scientist at University of California Health

  • Judith M Ford, PhD (ucsf)
    Professor, Psychiatry, School of Medicine. Authored (or co-authored) 196 research publications


accepting new patients
Start Date
Completion Date
San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Study Type
Expecting 150 study participants
Last Updated