Cognitive Consequences of COVID

August 15, 2021

A recent study conducted in the UK sought to confirm whether there was an association between cognitive performance data from 81,337 participants and COVID-19 case data.

Data included in the study were collected between January and December 2020, and participants completed an extended questionnaire (with questions pertaining to COVID-19 infection), as well as a series of cognitive tasks via The Great British Intelligence Test. Researchers found that people who had recovered from COVID-19, including those no longer reporting symptoms, “exhibited significant cognitive deficits” compared to those in the control group.

Notably, the severity of cognitive deficits was associated with the degree of illness severity from COVID-19 infection. Those who were hospitalized and placed on a ventilator exhibited the greatest deficits. These deficits were even larger than the deficits present in those who had previously suffered a stroke or had learning disabilities.

The most pronounced cognitive deficits detected in the study parallel the cognitive symptoms present in “long Covid.” These deficits presented themselves in tasks involving reasoning, spatial planning, target detection, and problem-solving.