Cognitive cost of COVID? Some patients may have a brain age of 10 years

LONDON (Reuters) – People recovering from COVID-19 may face the effects of significant brain function, with the worst cases of infection associated with mental decline equivalent to brain aging of up to 10 years, researchers Warned on Tuesday.

A patient suffering from coronovirus disease (COVID-19) treated at CHU de Liege Hospital on 27 October 2020 in Liège, Belgium. REUTERS / Yves Herman

A non-peer-reviewed study of more than 84,000 people led by Adam Hampshire, a doctor at Imperial College London, found that in some severe cases, coronovirus infection is associated with substantial cognitive deficits for months.

The researchers wrote in a report of their findings, “Our analyzes … align with the view that COVID-19 has chronic cognitive consequences.” “Those who no longer had symptoms that were not reported demonstrated significant cognitive deficits.”

Cognitive tests measure how well the brain functions – such as memorizing words or joining dots on a puzzle. Such tests are widely used to assess brain performance in diseases such as Alzheimer’s, and may also help doctors assess temporary brain weaknesses.

The team from Hampshire analyzed the results of 84,285 people who completed a study called the Great British Intelligence Test. The findings, which are yet to be reviewed by other experts, were published online on the MedRxiv website.

Cognitive deficits were of “substantial effect size”, particularly among those hospitalized with COVID-19, the researchers said, showing the effect in the worst cases “among the global age of 20.” 70% below average 10-year decline in performance.

Scientists did not directly engage in the study, however, its results should be viewed with some caution.

“The cognitive function of participants was not known as pre-COVID, and the results also do not reflect long-term recovery – so any effect on cognition may be short-term,” Joanna, a professor of applied neuromising at the University of Edinburgh Wardlaw said.

Derek Hill, a professor of medical imaging science at University College London, also mentioned that the study’s findings may not be entirely reliable, as they do not compare before and after scores, and a significant number of those Include those who had COVID-19, who had no positive test.

“Overall (it is) an intriguing but inconclusive piece of research into the effect of COVID on the brain,” Hill said.

“As researchers have tried to better understand the long-term effects of COVID, it will be important to examine the extent to which cognition is affected in the weeks and months following infection, and the result of permanent damage to brain function in some people.” Happens in. “

Reporting by Kate Kelland, Editing by Alison Williams


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