COVID infection may result in long term cognitive decline

28 June 2022

A specialist medical team at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, Australia, have been monitoring the health of one hundred and twenty-eight people who were infected with the original COVID-19 Alpha strain in the early months of 2020.

Study participants experienced varying degrees of infection, with a small number requiring hospitalisation. But the findings of the study — to date — are unsettling to say the least.

Around one quarter of the ADAPT study’s participants were experiencing noticeable cognitive decline a year after getting COVID. And, some sort of cognitive decline was recorded in almost all of the participants, regardless of the severity of the initial infection. “When we look over time, across the 12 months of the study, we see that even the people who have performance within a normal expectation do also have a mild cognitive decline,” says neuropsychologist and associate professor Lucette Cysique.

However, Dr Cysique noted that in most cases cognitive decline was mild, and few people would notice, unless they found themselves in a “very cognitively demanding situation.”

I’m not sure I find that particularly reassuring. COVID strikes me as being a disease best avoided. If that is at all possible.