It’s been over a year and a half since the coronavirus pandemic brought everything we knew to a halt. Yet despite millions of diagnoses and evolved treatment, we’re still not entirely sure about what Covid-19 does to the longterm health of survivors. While some might make complete recoveries, others deal with long-haul symptoms. And a new study seems to find that memory problems and “brain fog” are impacting Covid survivors more than ever.
Many of us have experienced brain fog, where we can’t quite seem to think clearly, during the long days of quarantining. But a study measuring the neurological impact of Covid, posted by the JAMA Network, seems to prove it’s a real issue for some people diagnosed with the virus.
Scientists tested the cognitive functioning of 740 participants who had tested positive for the coronavirus from April 2020 to May 2021. Their results showed “a relatively high frequency of cognitive impairment several months after patients contracted COVID-19.” Specifically, patients seem to struggle with “executive functioning, processing speed, category fluency, memory encoding, and [memory] recall.”
The study found that 24 percent of people had a decline in memory encoding, or learning new information. A similar 23 percent of participants had trouble with memory recall. Another 20 TK percent also had an issue with category fluency, meaning they struggled to find the right words for things. These side-effects can really contribute to people feeling like their brain is “foggy” and thinking can be more difficult.
While older adults often experience the same side-effects after an illness, the study was significant since it included a relatively younger group, with an average age of 49. The study included participants from 38 years old to 59 years old.
While the study suggests more widespread testing needs to happen before we can draw ultimate conclusions, it seems the virus does affect our cognitive functioning. You’re not alone if you find yourself suddenly dealing with Covid brain fog.