COVID-19 can cause cognitive deficits equivalent to 20 years of age

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New research assesses the cognitive deficits of people hospitalized with COVID-19. Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images
  • A recent study suggests a severe COVID-19 linkage that requires hospitalization and a 6-10 persistent cognitive impairment after the onset of the disease.
  • Cognitive deficits in COVID-19 survivors were similar in magnitude to the decline in cognitive function that typically occurs in people between the ages of 50 and 70 years.
  • This emphasizes the importance of the gradual recovery of persistent cognitive deficits, understanding the underlying mechanisms and developing treatment strategies.
  • Simple cases of COVID-19 may present with long-lasting cognitive symptoms, but the authors of the study say that the disease is more common in severe cases. 33%-76% There are cognitive symptoms 3-6 months after hospitalization.

A recent study that appeared in the journaleClinical MedicineThis suggests that severe COVID-19 may be associated with a persistent cognitive deficit equivalent to a decrease in 10 IQ scores. In this study, severe COVID-19 was identified as COVID-19 requiring hospitalization and critical care.

These cognitive impairments persisted for at least 6 months after SARS-CoV-2 infection, and these cognitive symptoms gradually improved. These findings underscore the importance of long-term support for patients recovering from severe COVID-19.

According to official data for 2020, in the year this study was obtained, about 4 out of 10 adults over the age of 18 were at risk of developing severe COVID-19 in the United States.

A significant minority of people with SARS-CoV-2 infection have stable cognition. symptoms After the first 4 weeks after the onset of COVID-19 symptoms. Some common cognitive symptoms include problems with concentration, “brain fog,” memory and performance function.

Although persistent cognitive symptoms are also seen in people with mild COVID-19, this cognitive impairment is more common in people with severe COVID-19. Previous studies have shown 36% –76% Cognitive deficits in people with severe acute COVID-19 are observed 6 months after the onset of the disease.

However, further research is needed to understand specific aspects of cognitive function affected after severe COVID-19 and the factors that predicted these cognitive symptoms.

They relied on independent reports from previous studies to characterize persistent cognitive symptoms in COVID-19 patients. Other studies have used pen and paper neuropsychological tests to assess cognitive function.

However, these tests are not sensitive to detect small changes in cognitive function or to differentiate between different domains or aspects of cognitive function affected by SARS-CoV-2 infection.

To address these concerns, the authors of this study used computerized cognitive tests to objectively characterize specific domains of cognitive function that were severely affected after acute COVID-19. These computer tests allowed researchers to assess the magnitude of these cognitive deficits.

People with COVID-19 also experience persistent symptoms of mental health, such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can contribute to cognitive impairment.

Another goal of this study was to determine whether these mental health symptoms mediate persistent cognitive impairment in COVID-19 patients.

The study involved 46 patients who had previously been hospitalized with severe COVID-19 and received critical care at Addenbrook Hospital in Cambridge, England. Former COVID-19 patients underwent a series of computerized cognitive tests when they returned to the hospital an average of 6 months after the onset of the disease.

Cognitive tests of 46 participants were compared with those of 460 people in the control group. People in the control group were not hospitalized for COVID-19 and matched in age, gender, and education level. Researchers also used self-reports to assess symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

The researchers found that in cognitive tests, COVID-19 patients had lower scores and responded more slowly than matching controls. People with COVID-19 have more pronounced deficiencies in certain areas of cognition, including processing speed, attention, memory, thinking, and planning.

It should be noted that cognitive impairment in COVID-19 survivors was not associated with symptoms of mental health such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD during cognitive testing.

Instead, cognitive tests were associated with the severity of the acute illness. For example, people who require mechanical ventilation are more likely to have cognitive impairments.

The researchers then compared COVID-19 survivors with more than 66,000 people in the general population.

The magnitude of cognitive impairment in COVID-19 survivors was equivalent to the expected age-related cognitive decline over a 20-year period from 50 to 70 years.

The study’s lead author, Professor David Menon, head of the anesthesia department at the University of Cambridge, says: which was different.

Dr. This was announced by Betty Raman, a cardiologist at the University of Oxford Medical news today“This promising cohort study, which included 46 people who recovered from severe COVID-19 in Hampshire and colleagues, and a large regulatory population, showed a clear link between the severity of the infection and the degree of cognitive impairment.”

“This multidimensional characterization of cognition provides a nuanced understanding of specific patterns of cognitive impairment in the convalescence phase of severe COVID-19. Future efforts are needed to understand how this pattern changes in the context of other post-infectious syndromes and critical diseases.”

The study showed that these cognitive deficits persisted for 6-10 months after the start of COVID-19, and a gradual improvement in cognitive performance was observed. The persistence of this cognitive deficit underscores the importance of understanding the underlying mechanisms of these symptoms.

Researchers have proposed several mechanisms, such as direct brain infection with SARS-CoV-2 and impaired cerebral blood flow, to explain persistent cognitive symptoms in COVID-19 patients. Among these mechanisms is the systemic or the whole body Inflammation turned out to be the main candidate responsible for persistent cognitive symptoms.

Dr. This was stated by Roger McIntyre, professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at the University of Toronto. MNT“Inflammation activation mediates these findings and highlights the risks of long-term immune activation. The next steps are to more fully explore biological mechanisms and identify prevention and treatment strategies.

Discussing the key issues that need to be addressed, Dr. Paul Harrison, a professor of psychiatry at Oxford University, said:

“This study shows that this deficiency can be significant and persists for more than 6 months after an acute illness. The results are convincing and important and raise further questions. For example, what happens after a mild infection? How long will the deficit last? What causes them and, critically, how can they be treated or prevented? ”

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