People who have recovered from Covid-19 are left with neurological problems and a substantial deterioration in their cognitive abilities, regardless of the severity of their case, concludes a new study by an international team from Imperial College London.
According to research by British and American neurophysiologists, the infection affects people’s ability to understand a text and the meaning of words, as well as to solve problems, says an article about the study published on the medRxiv portal.
The team analyzed available cognitive test data for 84,285 people who took part in the Great British Intelligence Test, and who also completed a questionnaire about suspected and biologically confirmed Covid-19 cases.
The application of generalized linear models that the researchers used showed that the observed deficits could not be explained by differences in age, education, underlying medical conditions, or other demographic and socioeconomic distinctions.
“These results should call for attention to further investigate the basis for cognitive deficits in people who have survived the Covid-19 infection,” the study authors admit.
Cognitive damage was substantial not only among people who had required hospitalization, but also among those who did not need hospital treatment and had not even reported breathing difficulties.
However, patients who had been hospitalized showed large or medium-scale global performance deficits for semantic problem solving and visual selective attention, depending on whether or not they had required a hospital ventilator.
“A more complete understanding of what our study shows about the marked deficits will allow better preparation for the challenges of post-pandemic recovery,” the team concluded.