Self-perceived cognitive impairments after long COVID 2023
A study found that self-perceived cognitive issues such memory problems may be linked to long-term COVID. After four weeks, long COVID symptoms continue.
Over one in three long-term COVID patients had cognitive abnormalities, which have been linked to anxiety and sadness, according to UCLA researchers.
The findings, published in JAMA Network Open, suggest that psychological difficulties like anxiety or depression may contribute to long-term COVID, also known as post-COVID-19 condition (PCC).
“This perception of cognitive deficits suggests that affective issues-in this case anxiety and depression-appear to carry over into the long COVID period,” said UCLA professor Neil Wenger, study senior author.
“This is not to say that long COVID is all in one’s head, but that it is likely not a single condition and that for some proportion of patients there is likely a component of anxiety or depression that is exacerbated by the disease,” Wenger said.
Patients were phoned 30 days, 60 days, and 90 days following hospital discharge or a positive COVID test to check if they felt better.
The researchers assessed 766 individuals who had proven symptomatic COVID infection and had been hospitalized at UCLA or one of 20 US health care facilities or referred to the program by a primary care physician as outpatients.
276 (36.1%) of the patients polled had cognitive impairments during or after the acute illness. These individuals were twice as likely as those without perceived cognitive problems to report physical complaints at 60 and 90 days.
Researchers noted several limitations. Due to subjective cognitive deficiency replies, the survey lacked objective cognition measurements. They didn’t know individuals’ pre-COVID cognition, depression, and anxiety.
The researchers noted that individuals were treated at an academic medical center and referred to the program because physicians believed they were at clinically high risk for cognition deficiencies, thus the findings may not apply to other patient groups.