Covid-19: New symptom affects memory months after recovery

New research from Oxford University has found problems with memory, attention, and thought processing in people several months after recovery from COVID-19.

People who have experienced mild symptoms of Covid could still suffer from attention and memory-related issues months after recovery. Findings of the new research point to brain fog among people who did not report symptoms of long-Covid.

Building on Existing Research

Researchers from Oxford University worked with participants who had recovered from Covid, placing them in control groups based on similar factors like fatigue, sleep patterns, and forgetfulness.

They were then asked to complete a number of cognitive tests which focus on planning, memory, sustaining attention, and semantic reasoning.

The researchers found that participants performed better in short-time working memory and planning than they did in their recollection of past events and ability to sustain attention over time.

Dr Sijia Zhao of Oxford's Department of Experimental Psychology said:

What is surprising is that although our Covid-19 survivors did not feel any more symptomatic at the time of testing, they showed degraded attention and memory.

Long List of Post-Pandemic Issues

Previous studies have shown that long-Covid sufferers experience brain fog—difficulties maintaining attention. However, the Oxford study points to similar effects among those who had experienced no other issues after recovery from Covid-19.

The study also established that most people’s memory and attention returned to normal after six to nine months. Dr Zhao said:

Our findings reveal that people can experience some chronic cognitive consequences for months.

Findings from the research add to the growing list of issues that will need addressing as part of the long-term treatment of COVID-19, which is still highly prevalent worldwide.

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