Even patients who recover quickly from COVID-19 infection may continue to struggle with brain fog months after they’re past physical symptoms of the virus, according to a new research letter published online by JAMA Network Open. Perhaps most surprisingly, cognitive dysfunction showed up in patients between 38 and 59 years more than 7 months post infection. The data were drawn from the cases of 740 patients tracked through a Mount Sinai Health System registry between April 2020 and May 2021. All had tested positive for COVID-19 or had serum antibody positivity. None had a history of dementia. The most common deficits were seen in memory encoding (24% of study subjects), memory recall (23%), category fluency (20%), processing speed (18%), and executive functioning (16%). The effects were most pronounced in patients who had been hospitalized. This is important for the urgent care community to know not only for purposes of counseling patients appropriately, but also to be vigilant for signs of cognitive impairment in clinicians and staff who may have recovered from COVID-19.
Be Aware: Brain and Body Are on Different Timetables in Recovery from COVID-19