Health and lifestyle

American study finds covid 19 impact on brain

Brain fog in Covid-19 patients can persist for months, even in those who were not hospitalized, the study finds.

CNN reported a study published in JAMA Network Open that finds that cognitive impairment — described as brain fog — can persist for months in Covid-19 patients, even for some who were not hospitalized.

The research found that nearly a quarter of Covid-19 patients in a Mount Sinai Health System registry experienced some issues with their memory — and although hospitalized patients were more likely to have such brain fog after a coronavirus infection, some outpatients had cognitive impairment too.

In this study, we found a relatively high frequency of cognitive impairment several months after patients contracted COVID-19. Impairments in executive functioning, processing speed, category fluency, memory encoding, and recall were predominant among hospitalized patients,” Jacqueline Becker and her colleagues at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, wrote in the study.

The new study included data, from April 2020 through May 2021, on 740 Covid-19 patients with no history of dementia. The average age of patients was 49. Cognitive functioning was assessed for each patient and the researchers analyzed the frequency of cognitive impairment among the patients.

Among all the patients, the researchers found that 15% showed deficits in phonemic fluency in their speaking; 16% in a set of mental skills called their executive functioning; 18% showed deficits in their cognitive processing speed; 20% in their ability to process categories or lists; 23% in memory recall and 24% in memory encoding, among other impairments.

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