70% of patients with persistent covid suffer from memory and concentration problems

Since she entered our lives just over two years ago, the Covid-19 It manifested with a wide range of symptoms in the affected people. Among the neurological signs, reported even in 36.4% of patientsThese include headache, dizziness, altered consciousness and seizures. There were even associated cases of encephalitis, blows and Guillain-Barré syndrome.

numerous investigations They tried to resolve the many unknowns about this type of demonstration and its long-term consequences. Now, two new studies published in Frontiers in the Neuroscience of Aging point out that seven out of ten patients suffer from concentration and memory problems up to 18 months after the onset of their illness, and many perform worse on cognitive tests.

78% of participants with persistent covid reported difficulty concentrating, 69% brain fog, 68% forgetfulness, and 60% difficulty finding the right word when speaking

The work, led by a team of psychologists and psychiatrists from Cambridge University (UK), also report that half of the patients indicated they had difficulty getting medical professionals to assess these signs, perhaps because cognitive symptoms do not receive the same attention as lung or lung problems. fatigue.

“O cognitive deficits are one of the most common symptoms persistent covid”, he explains to SINC and Lucy G. Cheke, lead author of both articles. “However, there are multiple causes and manifestations. We found that people with long covid they performed significantly worse on objective measures of memory capacity.”

Thus, 78% of participants who suffered from persistent covid reported difficulty concentrating, 69% brain fog, 68% forgetfulness and 60% difficulty finding the right word when speaking. These symptoms were reflected in a significantly reduced ability to remember words and images in cognitive tests.

“These findings are important because they demonstrate once again that Covid is not just a disease that affects the lungs, but can sometimes have lasting impacts on various areas of the body, including the brainand therefore influence cognition,” adds Cheke.

The importance of evaluating these symptoms

lyn curtispatient of long covid and a member of the Cambridge research team, says recognition of this long-standing pathology and a greater understanding of the associated symptoms by medical professionals are essential “both to identify the treatments and for the management of existing symptoms.

“We still don’t know how long these problems last and whether they get better or worse over time, but this growing evidence needs to be taken seriously,” says Cheke. “These long-term repercussions must be included in risk assessments when making policy decisions, such as investing in security measures. public health and mitigation”.

People think persistent covid is ‘just’ fatigue or coughing, but cognitive problems are the second most common symptom. There is growing evidence that the disease affects the brain, and our results reflect this.

Lucy G. Cheke, lead author

Check points out that “people believe that persistent covid is ‘just’ tiredness or cough, but cognitive problems are the second most common symptom. Our data suggest that this is because there is a significant impact on the ability to remember. There is increasing evidence that the disease affects the brain, and our results reflect this.”

For your part, Muzaffer Kaserco-author of the work, comments that “when people say they have cognitive difficulties after coronavirusthese are not necessarily the result of the anxiety nod depression. The researcher adds that “the effects are measurable: something worrying is happening, memory problems can significantly affect people’s daily lives.”

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Lucy G Cheke hopes that by showing that self-reported cognitive deficits are indeed accompanied by measurable reductions in memory capacity, this will “raise awareness of this issue among medical professionals, employers, and society at large, and make make affected patients better able to defend themselves.

The cause of cognitive problems

To understand the cause of the cognitive problems, the researchers looked at other symptoms that may be related. They found that people who experienced fatigue and neurological symptoms such as dizziness and headache during the initial illness were more likely to have cognitive symptoms later on.

“Infection by SARS-CoV-2 can lead to inflammation in the body, and affects behavior and cognitive performance in ways we do not yet fully understand, although we believe they are related to a early excessive immune responseKaser says.

These two investigations corroborate other findings that suggest that society will face a ‘long list’ of occupational diseases due to the persistence of covid.

According to the authors, the results are especially worrying considering the prevalence of persistent covid in the country. active population: a UK Office for National Statistics It is estimated that between 10 and 25% of patients have some degree of chronicity.

Thus, these two investigations corroborate other findings that suggest that society will face a ‘long list’ of occupational diseases due to persistent covid. “This condition has received very little political and medical attention and it is urgent that it be taken more seriously. The impact on the working population can be enormous,” stresses Cheke.

More studies needed

The 421 study participants were enrolled between October 2020 and March 2021When alpha variant and the original form of SARS-CoV-2 were circulating in the population and will continue to be monitored to see how long their symptoms persist.

The experts are now recruiting a new class verify the influence of persistent covid associated with delta or omicron variants: “More research is needed to understand the complex effects of this disease on the brain, cognition and mental health.”

Participants were recruited between October 2020 and March 2021, when both the alpha variant and the original form of SARS-CoV-2 were circulating. Experts are currently recruiting a new cohort to test the influence associated with delta or omicron variants.

About the study limitationsCheke makes it clear that his studies are not prevalence: “We must consider our results together with broader epidemiological analyses. That said, the rates of cognitive symptoms reported by our team closely mirror those of larger studies, reaffirming that our sample may be representative in this setting.”

“It is important for people to seek help if they are concerned about any symptoms lingering after infection. Covid-19 can affect multiple systems and further assessment can be done after a GP referral,” concludes Kaser.

References:

Guo, P. et al: ‘COVCOG 1: Factors predicting physical, neurological and cognitive symptoms in long-term COVID: The first publication of the COVID and Cognition Study.’ Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, March 2022. DOI: 10.3389/fnagi.2022.804922

Guo, P. et al: ‘COVCOG 2: Cognitive and Memory Deficits in Long COVID: A Second Publication of the COVID and Cognition Study.’ Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, March 2022. DOI: 10.3389/fnagi.2022.804937

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