People who've had COVID-19 are facing memory problems months after contracting the disease, new study says: 'They can't think'
Nurse Janet Gilleran prepares to treat coronavirus patient Mike Mokler with bamlanivimab, a monoclonal antibody, at the Respiratory Infection Clinic at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts on December 31, 2020.
A new study shows that people who have had COVID-19 in the past may experience cognitive impairment months after being infected.
These impairments can include memory problems and slower processing speeds.
One of the long-term effects of COVID-19 is "brain fog," or difficulty thinking and focusing, the CDC says.
People who have recovered from the coronavirus have problems with their memory, new research and data show.
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A study published on Friday in the medical journal JAMA Network Open found that nearly a quarter of people infected with the coronavirus have trouble keeping information and focusing months after contracting the disease. Researchers who examined 740 patients at the Mount Sinai Health System in New York found that people previously suffering from COVID-19 struggle with things like multitasking relatively often.
“In this study, we found a relatively high frequency of cognitive impairment several months after the patients were infected with COVID-19. Impairments in executive functions, processing speed, category fluency, memory coding, and recall were predominant in hospitalized patients, ”said Jacqueline Becker and others. Researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, said according to the study.
The patients were tested between April 2020 and May 2021, according to the study. They were all at least 18 years old and had no history of dementia. The researchers found that the patients showed signs of cognitive impairment around seven or eight months after the illness.
These include problems with memory and the ability to store new memories, the study found, as well as with judgment and planning.
Some of these patients "cannot function," said psychiatry professor Dr. Helen Lavretsky told NBC News. "They can't think; their memory is impaired; they get confused when they drive places that they don't know how they got there."
Research showed that patients most likely to show signs of cognitive impairment were hospitalized for COVID-19. But some patients treated in the hospital emergency room also showed a decrease in brain function.
One of the long-term effects of COVID-19 is brain fog, or difficulty thinking and concentrating, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"Although most people with COVID-19 feel better within weeks of being sick, some people develop post-COVID illness," the CDC website said. "Post-COVID conditions are a variety of new, recurring, or persistent health problems that people can experience four or more weeks after they first become infected with the virus that causes COVID-19."
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