COVID-19 side effects could include memory loss, brain fog, researchers find


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The most prominent cognitive deficits were in memory encoding, memory recall

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According to researchers, memory loss and “brain fog” may be long-term side effects of COVID-19.

In a recent study published last week in the JAMA Network Open journal, experts at Mount Sinai Health System analyzed data from 740 participants — some of whom had contracted the virus and some had only received the COVID-19 vaccine.


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mean age of patients – those with no history of dementia – 49 were and 63% were female. The median time to COVID-19 diagnosis was about eight months and the majority of those studied were white.

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To measure the prevalence of cognitive impairment after COVID-19 and its association with disease severity, the team analyzed patient data from April 2020 to May 2021.

Patients, who were treated in outpatient, emergency department or inpatient hospital settings, reported their own participant demographic characteristics.

Cognitive functioning was tested using “well-validated neuropsychological measures”, including counting forward and backward, a language test, and the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test, which showed patients a series of words in different categories and tests. did how much they could remember.

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Next, the researchers calculated the frequency of impairment on each measurement and they used logistic regression to assess the relationship between cognitive impairment and the COVID-19 care site – race and ethnicity, smoking, body mass index, comorbidities and Adjustment for depression.

Overall, they found that the most prominent cognitive deficits were in both memory encoding and memory recall, which appeared in 24% and 23% of participants, respectively.

Additionally, hospitalized patients were more likely to have impairments in attention, executive functioning, category fluency, memory encoding and memory recall than the outpatient group. Those treated in the emergency department were more likely to have impaired category fluency and memory encoding than those treated in the outpatient setting.

“The relative sparing of memory recognition in the context of impaired encoding and recall suggests an executive pattern,” the researchers wrote. “This pattern is consistent with initial reports describing a dyslexic syndrome after COVID-19 and has considerable implications for occupational, psychological and functional outcomes.”

The group also noted that while it is well known that older adults and certain populations may be particularly susceptible to cognitive impairment after severe illness, a substantial proportion in the relatively young group in the study also reported several months after recovery from COVID. Demonstrated cognitive dysfunction. 19.

The researchers said further studies are needed to identify risk factors, underlying mechanisms of cognitive dysfunction, and options for rehabilitation.

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