A British study published at the end of April suggests that the cognitive losses from severe cases of COVID-19 equate to 20 years of ageing.
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The cognitive impairment resulting from a severe case of COVID-19 is similar to that occurring between the ages of 50 and 70 and is equivalent to losing 10 IQ points, according to a team of scientists from the University of Cambridge and Imperial College London.
Study results suggest that the effects are still detectable after more than six months of illness, and that any recovery is gradual at best.
“We followed some patients for up to ten months after their acute injury, so we can see very slow improvement,” said study author David Menon. Although this is not statistically significant, at least it goes in the right direction, but it is very likely that some of these people will never fully recover.
This study only looked at cases admitted to hospital, but the team says that even patients who aren’t sick enough to be admitted can also show signs of mild impairment.
A study found that about one in seven people surveyed said they had symptoms including cognitive difficulties 12 weeks after testing for the novel coronavirus.
Even a mild case of COVID-19 can cause brain shrinkage.