Brain being one of the most important organ in the body is also not being spared by ill-effects of COVID-19. In a recent research led by Adam Hampshire a doctor at Imperial College London, researchers found out that people recovering from COVID-19 may suffer significant brain function impacts, with the worst cases of the infection linked to mental decline equivalent to the brain ageing by 10 years.
A non-peer-reviewed study of more than 84,000 people, researchers found that in some severe cases, coronavirus infection is linked to substantial cognitive deficits for months.
Effect on Cognitive ability of Brain
Cognitive tests measure how well the brain performs tasks – such as remembering words or joining dots on a puzzle. Such tests are widely used to assess brain performance in diseases like Alzheimer’s, and can also help doctors assess temporary brain impairments.
Adam Hampshire’s team analysed results from 84,285 people who completed a study called the Great British Intelligence Test and found that the cognitive deficits were “of substantial effect size”, particularly among people who had been hospitalised with COVID-19, the researchers said, with the worst cases showing impacts “equivalent to the average 10-year decline in global performance between the ages of 20 to 70”.
As researchers seek to better understand the long term impact of COVID-19, it will be important to further investigate the extent to which cognition is impacted in the weeks and months after the infection, and whether permanent damage to brain function results in some people.