Cognitive dysfunction following COVID-19 infection

Journal of neurovirology

J Neurovirol. 2022 Jun;28(3):430-437. doi: 10.1007/s13365-022-01079-y. Epub 2022 May 26.


The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is still evolving, causing hundreds of millions of infections around the world. The long-term sequelae of COVID-19 and neurologic syndromes post COVID remain poorly understood. The present study aims to characterize cognitive performance in patients experiencing cognitive symptoms post-COVID infection. Patients evaluated at a post COVID clinic in Northern Israel who endorsed cognitive symptoms were referred for neurologic consultation. The neurologic work-up included detailed medical history, symptom inventory, neurological examination, the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), laboratory tests and brain CT or MRI. Between December 2020 and June 2021, 46 patients were referred for neurological consultation (65% female), mean age 49.5 (19-72 years). On the MoCA test, executive functions, particularly phonemic fluency, and attention, were impaired. In contrast, the total MoCA score, and memory and orientation subscores did not differ from expected ranges. Disease severity, premorbid condition, pulmonary function tests and hypoxia did not contribute to cognitive performance. Cognitive decline may affect otherwise healthy patients post-COVID, independent of disease severity. Our examination identified abnormalities in executive function, attention, and phonemic fluency. These findings occurred despite normal laboratory tests and imaging findings.

PMID:35618983 | PMC:PMC9134977 | DOI:10.1007/s13365-022-01079-y