Study: Brain fog can persist in younger COVID-19 patients who are not hospitalized

People who contract COVID-19 can experience brain fog and other cognitive impairments even if they’re younger or not hospitalized, according to a new study based on observations at New York’s Mount Sinai Health System.

Previous studies have found that brain fog can persist for months in people who have contracted the virus. One study found that the brains of people who died from COVID-19 are similar to those of people who died from neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson‘s.

The most recent study, published Friday in the JAMA Network Open, used data collected between April 2020 and May 2021 for 740 COVID-19 patients at Mount Sinai Health System.

Researchers compared rates of cognitive impairment between those who were treated in outpatient, emergency department or inpatient hospital settings.

The study looked at a broad range of cognitive impairments including attention, processing speed, executive function, phonemic fluency and a number of memory functions.

“In this study, we found a relatively high frequency of cognitive impairment several months after patients contracted COVID-19,” the study said. “Impairments in executive functioning, processing speed, category fluency, memory encoding, and recall were predominant among hospitalized patients.”

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