Even mild cases of COVID-19 affect memory and attention – study

Moderate symptoms still lead to long-term cognitive consequences, Oxford University researchers have revealed

Scientists at the University of Oxford in the UK have revealed that people who have had mild COVID-19 and who do not suffer from other widespread ‘prolonged’ Covid symptoms in daily life, still show caution and are more likely to develop symptoms after six to nine days of infection. Memory declines for months.

Participants in the latest study had previously tested positive for COVID-19, but reported no symptoms of “long covid” often present after acute infection, or other health problems after recovery. They were not significantly different from an uninfected control group when tested on factors such as fatigue, forgetfulness, sleep patterns or anxiety.

These people were asked to perform a series of exercises focused on activities necessary for daily living, such as maintaining attention, planning, memory and reasoning.

As a result, the scientists found that the participants performed well on most tasks, but were significantly worse at recalling individual memories for up to six months after recovery. They also showed a decrease in their ability to maintain attention over time for nine months.

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“Surprisingly, although our COVID-19 survivors no longer felt symptomatic at the time of testing, they showed impaired attention and memory,” said Dr Sijia Zhao from the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford. “Our results suggest that people may experience chronic cognitive outcomes for months. »

Confirming his colleagues’ finding, Stephen Burgess of the University of Cambridge’s MRC Biostatistics Unit, pointed to the small group of people involved, saying it was not random.

“However, despite this, the differences between the covid and non-covid groups were striking in terms of several specific measures of cognitive abilities examined in this study, particularly in terms of delayed memory tasks and the ability to perform tasks accurately. In case of fatigue, They said.

Previous studies have shown that after an acute COVID-19 infection, some people continue to suffer from cognitive symptoms such as difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness and fatigue, called «Covid Long» Symptom. However, little is known about whether even mild COVID-19 infection affects cognitive performance.

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