Cognitive Dysfunction can Persist for Months After COVID-19

Cognitive Dysfunction can Persist for Months After COVID-19

A recent study has discovered that individuals who have survived COVID-19 may have cognitive dysfunction, or informally known as brain fog, several months after recovery from the virus. This research adds to evidence from earlier studies on long COVID. Nevertheless, a lot of other studies so far, along with a cohort study conducted in the UK, have assessed cognitive deficit using self-reported verification of SARS-CoV-2 virus and web-based surveys.

The 740 participants in this study were psychologically tested in-person to evaluate cognitive function. All of them have undergone therapy for COVID-19. The research team used verified neuropsychological measures to examine focus, processing speed, problems with learning new information, working memory, executive functioning, recognition, and memory recall.

All of the people involved in the study were 18 years of age or older, and none of them suffered from dementia. They either had positive test results for coronavirus or had serum antibody positivity. The results from the study were adjusted for ethnicity and race, comorbidities, smoking, depression, and body mass index.

The researchers found that 24% of the participants had memory encoding, while 23% had problems retrieving earlier learned information. Furthermore, 18% required more time to solve a mental task; in other words, they had lower processing speed.

The authors of the study revealed that people who were hospitalized had a higher frequency of impairment than those who received therapy outside the hospital. Hospitalized patients were more likely to have attention issues and memory encoding compared to outpatients. This study, same as an earlier study, found that the severity of the disease may be a factor.

The researchers discovered that after a COVID-19 infection, the patients could have cognitive impairment for nearly eight months. However, future studies should assess the long-term post–COVID-19 cognitive trajectories and the connection with neuroimaging results to identify the risk factors and mechanisms underlying cognitive impairment.

This study demonstrates cognitive dysfunction in some of the patients who recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection. This is one of the problems that should be further investigated in the course of long-term COVID-19 treatment.

 

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

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