Prolonged covid-19 causes cognitive decline

People show slowness of thought to react in daily tasks.

Most of the people who contract the infection by Sars-CoV-2 do not need hospitalization, but now several studies have emerged that indicate the consequences that the virus leaves in patients who did not become seriously ill with Covid-19, among them, Neurological sequelae that are manifested by poor daily physical and cognitive performance: mental fog or confusion, headaches, ringing in the ears, blurred vision, tingling in the legs and hands.

They are symptoms of comorbidities that lead to long-term exhaustion in those people who, in the past, before becoming infected with the virus and who during the positive diagnosis of the infection did not need to be confined to a medical center, could normally perform several things at a time and had a functional lifestyle, generally they were at their full capabilities.

It is then a prolonged condition of the disease that initially did not appear as science had determined until now, among what is already known about this coronavirus. At least that's what specialists from Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, United States believe, who evaluated 100 patients for a time and 85% of them presented at least four of these signs.

This report shows that the most frequent comorbidities were: depression and anxiety, as well as autoimmune diseases with neurological manifestations such as mental fog, headache, numbness, dysgeusia, anosmia and myalgia. Ultimately, it results in a decline in the cognitive domain and fatigue that lasts for several weeks and months.

Neurological sequelae. The neurologist and clinical neuro-ophthalmologist, Ernesto Guerra, explains in an interview with Últimas Noticias that all these neurological sequelae arise as a consequence of Sars-CoV-2 infection in the central and peripheral nervous system and also the autonomic nervous system, that is, from the neurological or neuropsychiatric point of view, there are clinical manifestations that persist in the time due to infection.

Many of these manifestations, he indicates, can be acute or remain with patients in their daily routine, as has been seen with this new name: prolonged covid. Symptoms and signs that remain for weeks and months even after having recovered from the acute infection, and even more so in asymptomatic or mild patients with loss of smell, taste and headache.

These patients can develop neuropsychiatric, cognitive and behavioral sequelae over time. It has been shown that more or less a third of patients experience these problems, according to many studies that have been done in various universities and hospitals, in which it is evidenced that there is a persistence of neuropsychiatric symptoms, he said.

Slowness of thought

It has a close relationship with cognition, which are the processes that are done daily, causing inattention that in a large percentage or margin, approximately 40% of patients may present memory impairments, while of these , around 30% can present them acutely and in the long term as sequelae of the infection.

This focuses mostly on working memory, day-to-day memory, and begins with brain fog; the person is confused and does not know how to react. Guerra, who is also a specialist in internal medicine, university professor of medicine and neurology, believes that it is a "slowness of thought to react", and that this is really happening, affecting the quality of life of patients with concentration problems .

Although many have been recovering with rehabilitation, exercising and adopting a healthier lifestyle, “we are talking about people who in their jobs do not know how to make decisions when they usually did, they show changes in behavior and mood. There are many forms of manifestation, not only cognitive, but also behavioral. The person becomes aggressive, with psychotic disorders, depression and anxiety, ”he said.


There is other research published by The Lancet Psychiatry in which about 200.000 people were evaluated. It turns out that one in three, after being infected, had neurological or psychiatric problems during the six months after overcoming the infection. Anxiety and mood alteration, with 31% of the incidence, were the most frequent signs. In contrast, hemorrhages and strokes, in addition to dementia, were rare, but at higher risk in those who had to be hospitalized.

In this regard, the neurologist consulted comments that this trend may have an impact on the health system that influences the ability of these people to work, that is, it has a direct impact on their work, social and family environment, which is why be very careful, not only with the sequelae, but medical science must take it into consideration, since this in the long term could be a trigger or pre-existing factor for neurological diseases such as Parkinson's, multiple and lateral sclerosis, among others.



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