A new study indicates that this cognitive decline can occur up to seven months after suffering the infection.
As with any new virus, as the months go by, more details of how the disease progresses and its long-term consequences become known.
At Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, one of the largest in the city and one of the first to treat coronavirus cases, they conducted a study on the types of cognitive problems developed by COVID-19 patients treated at that center. Of health.
A staggering 24% of patients reported that during the months after their illness, they developed problems such as memory loss, difficulty performing more than one activity at a time, problems processing information quickly and complications paying attention, as reported a group of researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital.
"Long-term cognitive decline is seen in a variety of age groups with varying levels of severity during infection," said Dr. Jacqueline Becker, study author, clinical neuropsychologist, and member of the Icahn School of Medicine.
The study took as a sample 740 patients who voluntarily agreed to be monitored for months. All suffered from the disease between April 2020 and May 2021, being over 18 years old. None of them had a history of dementia. The results show a high rate of cognitive decline seven and a half months after contracting the virus.
The first problem reported has to do with the storage of new memories or short-term memory. One in four patients reported suffering from this symptom. The second said symptom was memory loss in general. Other documented problems, although less frequently, involve a deficiency in the speed of processing ideas and difficulties in initiating, planning, organizing, and making judgments.
Although those who reported the most consequences were the hospitalized patients, there were cases among those with milder illnesses that only went through the emergency room.
"This study confirms what we have also seen at Northwestern Hospital: that cognitive problem are consistent in patients who required hospitalization as well as those with milder symptoms of shortness of breath," stated Dr. Igor Koralnik of Northwestern Medical Center.
These signs lead several doctors to call for cognitive evaluations in COVID patients to be considered a standard procedure after the illness.
In Los Angeles, there have also been reports of people with cognitive loss, especially concerning because the UCLA hospital reports speak of healthy patients between 20 and 40.
It is estimated that around 45 million people in the country have felt this secondary effect at some point. The vaccine is not clear how it affects these cases. Some reports indicate that some people who had had COVID-19 and suffered cognitive consequences saw improvements after inoculation. But other reports say there were no changes, or even worse.
It is estimated that between 20% and 30% of COVID patients will develop this consequence. The good news is that the symptoms disappear after a couple of weeks in the vast majority of cases.