The authors of a research letter published online in JAMA Network Open have drawn attention to a substantial proportion of relatively young COVID-19 survivors exhibiting cognitive dysfunction several months after recovering from COVID-19.

Jacqueline H. Becker, Ph.D., from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, and colleagues investigated rates of cognitive impairment in 740 adult survivors of COVID-19 (mean age, 49 years) who were treated in outpatient, emergency department, or inpatient hospital settings (April 2020 to May 2021). The mean time of assessment from COVID-19 diagnosis was 7.6 months.

The researchers found that in adjusted analyses, hospitalized patients were more likely than outpatients to have impairments in attention (odds ratio [OR], 2.8; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.3 to 5.9), executive functioning (OR, 1.8; 95 percent CI, 1.0 to 3.4), category fluency (OR, 3.0; 95 percent CI, 1.7 to 5.2), memory encoding (OR, 2.3; 95 percent CI, 1.3 to 4.1), and memory recall (OR, 2.2; 95 percent CI, 1.3 to 3.8). Compared with outpatients, patients treated in the emergency department were more likely to have impaired category fluency (OR, 1.8; 95 percent CI, 1.1 to 3.1) and memory encoding (OR, 1.7; 95 percent CI, 1.0 to 3.0).

“We found a relatively high frequency of cognitive impairment several months after patients contracted COVID-19,” the authors wrote.


REFERENCE: Becker et al: Assessment of Cognitive Function in Patients After COVID-19 Infection.;