post-Covid cognitive impairment

Just read a thought-provoking article in New Atlas about the cognitive deficits experienced by people who have had severe Covid:

‘A new study has presented the most rigorous investigation to date into the long-term cognitive impacts of severe COVID-19. The research, led by scientists from Imperial College London and the University of Cambridge, found persistent cognitive deficits in hospitalized patients equivalent to declines consistent with 20 years of brain aging.’

https://newatlas.com/health-wellbeing/cognitive-impact-severe-covid-equal-20-years-brain-aging/?utm_source=New+Atlas+Subscribers&utm_campaign=1643987275-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2022_05_05_12_42&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_65b67362bd-1643987275-92416841

The study followed the post-Covid recovery of 46 people who had all had severe Covid, including 16 who had been ventilated. Their cognitive functions were compared to that of ‘age and demographically matched healthy control subjects.’ It was found that the more severe the disease, the greater the cognitive impairment:

‘These COVID patients were slower to respond to tasks and less accurate in their responses, compared to their matched controls. More specifically, the COVID patients performed poorly on “verbal analogical reasoning” tasks which are designed to test particular word-based reasoning cognitive domains.’

And as if that were not enough, there is some evidence to suggest that:

A study published earlier this year from researchers at the University of Oxford found minor cognitive deficits in subjects experiencing mild COVID-19 up to six months after an acute infection.

You can find the complete article here.

I know everyone wants to believe that the worst of Covid is over, but with Omicron morphing into BA.4 and BA.5 already, it’s not done with us yet. Please treat this disease with the caution it deserves. Even if you’re fully vaccinated. Even if you’ve had it before. Because there may be outcomes worse than death. 😦

Meeks

About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

26 responses to “post-Covid cognitive impairment

  • Anonymole

    All the more reason to keep wearing a mask.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Matthew Wright

    Ouch – this is scary but unsurprising. Covid is a new disease and by nature the true ramifications can only unfold as time passes. Cognitive impairment seems to be only one of a raft of issues being discovered too – others apparently include increased risk of stroke/clotting for some considerable time afterwards. Doubtless there will be more, and who knows what the long term consequences will be? That will take decades to uncover, as people who’ve recovered age.

    Then there is ‘long Covid’ with its auto-immune symptoms and recursion characteristics. Awful for those with it, but as far as I can discover it’s actually a potential outcome of ANY serious disease, but it’s never been recognised. Until now, most of those with auto-immune issues following a major disease just get written off as ‘head cases’ and leave the doctor’s rooms still sick, but now knowing it’s their own fault because they’re weak characters. Actually, the potential for major disease (typically mononucleosis) to trigger auto-immune symptoms such as ‘fibromyalgia’ has been long recognised by SOME of the medical community. The bright light here (such as it is) is that with so many ‘long Covid’ sufferers, maybe some proper research will go into what is actually happening, and patients with similar symptoms as a consequence of other serious diseases will finally get recognised as such and treated properly.

    I found a Time magazine article on the exact issue – ‘long flu’ from the 1918-19 pandemic: https://time.com/5915616/long-flu-1918-pandemic/

    Liked by 3 people

    • acflory

      Thanks for that article, Matthew. I had no idea that ‘Long Flu’ was one of the outcomes of the Spanish Flu. Even if we can’t accurately quantify how far reaching that outcome was, it’s mere existence should send chills down the spines of politicians who seem determined to push for a return to a normal we may never see again.

      Liked by 3 people

  • CarolCooks2

    My mask is staying put and the requirement to wear onE hasn’t been reduced here…My mask is here to stay x

    Liked by 3 people

    • acflory

      I was watching a current affairs show this evening and someone mentioned that Thailand has very little Covid and that everyone not only wears masks, but is constantly reminded to put their mask on if for some reason they forget – read silly tourists. He also mentioned that Asian countries have faired far better than the rest of us, precisely because of the fact that people don’t grizzle about having to wear masks. I truly do not understand the mindset here in Australia and elsewhere in the [western] world. 😦 The Offspring and I go nowhere without our masks, gloves and hand sanitiser. When we get home, our clothes go straight into the washing machine. Over kill maybe, but no part of Covid is ‘good’.

      Liked by 3 people

  • Audrey Driscoll

    My theory is that governments ended mask and distancing mandates sooner than they might have in response to those “freedom” rallies like the one by supposed truckers in Canada’s capital and other places.
    We’re still masking up in grocery stores, and so are a lot of others, from what I’ve observed.

    Liked by 2 people

    • acflory

      Yup. Totally agree. We’ve had similar ‘protests’ here and now we’re paying the price. Since January 2022, Australia deaths from Covid are double what they were for the WHOLE of the first two years of the pandemic. Yet no one talks about it any more. It’s as if there’s a conspiracy of silence. “If we pretend hard enough, maybe we can wish it away.” 😦

      Liked by 3 people

  • davidprosser

    Like many others, I have a fear of cognitive degeneration even though age alone can bring this about ,I shall not be ready to give up masking for a long while to come whatever the comments from my peers.

    Liked by 2 people

    • acflory

      Me too, David. I watched Dad go from a brilliant mind to a sweet, but diminished person over a decade. He ‘only’ had mild dementia, but that was bad enough. Terrified it’ll happen to me too.

      Liked by 2 people

  • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

    I already have plenty of ME/CFS cognitive impairment I battle every day for permission to write fiction.

    I warn people NOT to get Covid if they can possibly avoid it, and I hope not to get it and risk losing any more cognitive facilities. It’s already way bad enough.

    No, it is NOT over. What is over is the political will to demand recalcitrant civilians continue to take precautions – for the vulnerable.

    Once more, the vulnerable have been thrown under the bus.

    Liked by 3 people

    • acflory

      I thought of you as I wrote that post, Alicia. You are particularly vulnerable, but I fear that our whole generation is at risk as well. And yes, we have been thrown under the bus.
      For me, I’ve finally managed to get my hands on some N95 masks. Given that so few people are wearing even surgical masks any more, I figure that brings my protection up to surgical mask level, maybe.
      So easy for the unaffected to say ‘oh just protect the vulnerable and let the rest of us get on with our lives’. No one stops to ask exactly /how/ the vulnerable are to be protected, and how effective that ‘protection’ may be. I fear we’re going to lose more than one generation to this pandemic.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

        Sorry – didn’t know you were having problems getting the good masks. We get spoiled – if it’s available, the market will supply it to the US, because it’s such a huge online market.

        I read that if your glasses don’t fog, it’s tight enough. That would mean your breathing is done THROUGH the mask, and not around the edges.

        It’s still better than the surgical masks, even if it isn’t sealing.

        And staying away from other potentially ill people is still the best idea, if hard to manage. We’re going on vacation – and three of our party will have to fly, and that worries me – unless mask mandates are reinstated, which would mean the current bump has escalated, which is bad, but will probably happen. Every other time they’ve stopped requiring protection, it has blown up.

        Liked by 2 people

        • acflory

          I know our masks don’t fit perfectly, but combined with distancing, intense hygiene and isolation, we hope to get through unskathed. Sadly, important medical appointments mean we can’t isolate 100%. -shrug-
          I hope your vacation is happy and healthy. 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

          • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

            Thanks. We just realized (husband watched the QuaranTV we have here from management) that, because we have a health facility section for higher levels of care in our same building, we will need to quarantine for 14 days (!) if we get exposed – so won’t be able to go to dinner with fellow residents starting this Sunday. There is a case downstairs, and a whole bunch of people are now in quarantine. We can’t risk that.

            You can’t avoid being with people who might carry the virus – but you CAN be committed, as you are, to the personal protection side.

            Absent some eejit dragging YOUR mask off (there have been cases – they are prosecuted as assault), you should be okay.

            Liked by 1 person

          • acflory

            Damn. I hope things don’t get any worse, but the situation in your facility highlights how hard it is to protect vulnerable people when they rely on help from the ‘outside’. And the outside stop taking precautions. :/
            I truly do not understand why we can’t be like most Asians and just wear the bloody masks as a matter of course instead of whingeing and whining like toddlers.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

            And this is a specialized facility, at which we are among the youngest.

            I keep telling people to make their decisions early – and not to wait until one of a couple is ill or gone – but the truth is I brought us here because I’M already chronically ill.

            And that means many of the older people are healthier than I – but still in the vulnerable group. We should all still be wearing masks. This little episode where people from AL ate in the dining room with people from IL (encouraged – finally again), and now the whole 8 are quarantined for two weeks in their quarters! came after they spent an hour together at the dinner table without masks. Too many, too long, inside – and that many people had one AL person (they test them frequently) with no symptoms but who tested positive. Yikes!

            Liked by 1 person

          • acflory

            Sorry Alicia but what exactly are ALs? In terms of Covid though, it probably doesn’t matter. Since I stopped watching Dr John’s videos, I’ve lost track of Covid progress, but apparently there are now multiple Omicron sub-variants – BA.1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 – most of which are more transmissible than the original. Little wonder then that people have become infected.
            As for the relaxation of the mask mandates…only in the West. I have a blogging buddy in Thailand and apparently masks are required and /enforced/. Everyone seems to be ignoring Asia and the fact that it’s coping a million times better with Covid than we are. Shame on us.

            Like

          • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

            AL=Assisted living.

            China is NOT coping a million times better than anyone – they are draconian in their lockdown measures, and using their own not-very-good vaccines. India underestimates everything.

            Liked by 1 person

          • acflory

            Ah, so AL applies to people who don’t need actual nursing?

            I disagree with you re China because it depends on how you measure coping. If it’s defined as saving lives, whether that’s the /purpose/ or not, then China is way ahead of the game.
            Until Omicron, my state – Victoria – and my city – Melbourne – had clocked up the longest period of lockdowns in the world. Literally. They included 5km radius movement zones and curfews…but we saved lives. You can call it draconian, but I’m very proud of what we accomplished.

            I can’t comment about India because I don’t know what they’re doing, but I do know that Thailand has done extraordinarily well with low tech stuff like masks and social distancing, and more recently vaccines. I know because a friend of mine lives there. Other South East Asian countries are doing far better as well. Look up a website called Worldometer:

            https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries
            If you click on the column headings the data will be sorted from high to low or vice versa.

            As for the vaccines, two doses of /our/ best vaccines do very little against the Omicron sub-variants. Boosters do help, but until the world develops new vaccines that target the Omicron family specifically, they’re not going to be all that effective either.

            To me, death is the only permanent failure.

            Like

          • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

            Assisted living is people who really can’t live alone any more, but don’t require either memory support or a lot of nursing.

            It comes in a lot of levels here, depending on how much help someone needs. They are considered vulnerable – the state requires testing. At the beginning of the pandemic a lot of the AL places (and some nursing homes) were not prepared to protect their people – and there were many deaths because of contagion.

            Liked by 1 person

          • acflory

            Yes. 😦 Same here. In the first year of the pandemic, the private aged care facilities were very hard hit. That’s part of why our state took the measures that it did. To stop that slaughter from happening again. 😦

            Like

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