From respiration to cognition
Since COVID-19 emerged in December 2019, scientists have been trying to fully understand how the virus affects those that it infects.Originally it was believed that COVID only infected the respiratory track, leading to breathing difficulties and oxygen starvation in the host body. But within months new symptoms were added to this list including loss of taste and smell, two senses linked to brain function.This raised the question of whether COVID was also impacting the brain.
COVID and brain function
Whilst it is still too early to tell, initial studies suggest that COVID can impact the cognitive abilities of all those infected, even if they show no symptoms.
Looking at earlier viruses of this type such as SARS, it has been reported that most SARS patients had common complaints, such as poor concentration, declined memory, and insomnia, as well as anxiety and depression symptoms. Thus, indicating cognitive impairments after SARS infection.
In some studies, there is evidence that those who have recovered from the initial symptoms of COVID may experience impaired cognitive abilities and heightened cases of PTSD, memory issues, anxiety, confusion and even swelling in the brain.
As new evidence comes to light, it is likely that we will see an increase in demand for cognitive assessments.