A team of experts has established that many people who have been diagnosed with COVID19 initially might go through cognitive impairment for more than seven months after recovery. In the study, experts have described the kinds of cognitive issues people with past COVID19 infections might deal with after recovery. The authors of the study have said that COVID19 long haulers might suffer from myriad ailments weeks and months after being recovered from their initial infection. They have observed COVID19 patients who have been admitted to the Mount Sinai System in New York. The study has been done by experts from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Health experts who have been a part of the study have said that nearly 24 patients who have recovered from initial COVID19 infection continue to suffer from some sort of cognitive issues such as memory issues, multitasking, processing speed, and focusing. The senior author of the report, Dr. Jacqueline Becker has said that experts have witnessed many cognitive issues among COVID19 long haulers from a range of age groups. Dr. Becker is also a clinical neuropsychologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The authors of the study have said that nearly 740 patients who have signed up to be enrolled in a registry that is run by Mount Sinai have been tested in the study. Mount Sinai is one of the largest health systems in New York that has been treating COVID19 patients since the pandemic has hit the United States. These patients have been examined from April 2020 to May 2021 and they have been in the age range of 18 years and above. Participants have spoken English or Spanish and all of them have been diagnosed with COVID19. The authors of the study have said that participants have had no history of dementia. The findings of the new report have been released in the journal called JAMA Network Open.
The findings of the study have shown a fairly high rate of cognitive damage among the participants nearly 7.6 months after they have recovered from SARS-CoV-2 virus infection. The authors of the new report have clearly said that an issue with storing new memories has come out as a major cognitive problem among the participants. Around one out of four patients have been dealing with this issue, said the experts. Some participants have reported that they have been dealing with memory recall issues. There have been other issues that have been reported by the participants such as inefficiency in speed processing, executive functioning, which includes the inability to plan, initiate, or make decisions. Although patients who have been hospitalized with COVID19 have been at a higher risk of developing cognitive issues after recovery, patients who have been treated in emergency units as well have been diagnosed with some thinking issues. Health experts have said that other medical facilities as well have been dealing with such patients who are having the same complications. The head of the division of neuro-infectious disease and global neurology, Dr. Igor Koralnik has revealed that some patients who have been hospitalized at Northwestern Medical Center have been dealing with severe cognitive issues and have not been able to care for themselves after being discharged from the facility. Dr. Igor Koralnik has said that the findings of the study have confirmed that cognitive issues are frequent in both types of patients who have been hospitalized with severe disease and who have been diagnosed with mild infection with fewer symptoms. He has said that though it is clear COVID19 patients who have been on ventilators in the hospitals tend to have severe cognitive problems, it is not certain why young patients who have been diagnosed with mild COVID19 infection are affected by cognitive problems. It is not clear when these patients will get back to where they have been earlier before they have contracted the virus.
Dr. Jacqueline Becker has said that as young patients who have been diagnosed with mild COVID19 infection as well are dealing with cognitive troubles, they should be screened for mental impairment irrespective of their age post-infection. Post-COVID screening for mental impairment should be considered as a standard of care. The head of the UCLA Post COVID Clinic and a professor of psychiatry, Dr. Helen Lavretsky has said that it is heartbreaking to see people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s dealing with cognitive decline. She has said that some patients say that they are unable to function, they are not able to think, and their memory is damaged. Some patients say that they are confused while driving around the places and they are clueless about how to reach their destinations. Dr. Helen Lavretsky has claimed that though there have been reports that COVID19 shots might help COVID19 long haulers, UCLA has seen mixed responses. She has said that some people might get better; on the other hand, some might turn even worse. The authors of the new study have said that the scale of the issue seems to be quite immense. Nearly 45 million people have been diagnosed with COVID19 infection in the United State so far. While some people recover from the disease within a couple of weeks, a large number of people suffer from long-term symptoms of COVID19. Dr. Lavretsky has said that nearly 20 to 30 percent of people might deal with the lingering infection. It can seriously impair performance in setting like school situations or complex work environments. If an individual is fortunate, he or she might be able to perform tasks at a lower level. An assistant lecturer of psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at John Hopkins Medicine, Dr. Tracy Vannorsdall has said that at present, the therapy that assists people to work around their cognitive deficiency is the only treatment for this issue. Under this therapy, therapists help patients recognize their weaknesses and strengths. Later, they come up with personalized programs that can train the people with methods to use their strengths to compensate for their limitations.