COVID, COVID-19, Long-term COVID

New Study Reveals Potential Cognitive Decline In Long-Term Covid Patients

In a study on the lingering effects of Covid, research shows that people with long Covid symptoms may experience a cognitive decline.

In a study on the lingering impact of COVID-19, research indicates that individuals with long-term COVID-19 symptoms may experience measurable cognitive decline, according to the New York Times. Conducted in England, the study involved cognitive testing of nearly 113,000 participants and revealed that those with persistent post-COVID symptoms scored lower on cognitive assessments. Notably, the scores were equivalent to a six-point drop in IQ compared to those who had never been infected.

The study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, highlights a shift in cognitive abilities, particularly in memory, reasoning, and planning, among long Covid sufferers. Even individuals who had recovered and were no longer symptomatic scored slightly lower, by the equivalent of three IQ points, than those who had never contracted the virus.

While the differences in cognitive scores were relatively small, they provide numerical evidence for the cognitive challenges reported by long COVID patients. Experts emphasize that these findings do not suggest profound deficits but underscore the importance of acknowledging the brain fog and memory issues associated with long-term COVID.

James C. Jackson, a neuropsychologist at Vanderbilt Medical Center, commented on the study, stating, “These emerging findings are generally highlighting that yes, there is cognitive impairment in long COVID survivors — it’s a real phenomenon.” While the cognitive differences might not be considered significant on a typical IQ scale, experts emphasize the potential impact on individuals’ daily functioning.

Despite the concerns raised by the study, there is a glimmer of hope. Long-term COVID patients who eventually recovered exhibited cognitive scores similar to those who experienced a quick recovery. This suggests that as symptoms ease, cognitive impairment may also improve.

The study, led by researchers at Imperial College London, involved participants who completed online cognitive assessments. The assessments covered various mental skills, including spatial planning, verbal reasoning, and memory. The findings prompt further questions about the real-life implications of small cognitive deficits, their potential long-term impact on dementia risk, and other factors affecting cognitive scores in COVID patients.

While the study’s results offer valuable insights into the cognitive challenges faced by long COVID patients, researchers emphasize the need for continued investigation and a comprehensive understanding of the multifaceted effects of the virus on cognitive function.

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