SARS-CoV-2 may affect the cognitive ability of a person, and the effect could be greater in people that have contracted a severe illness due to the virus. According to a new study, people that were diagnosed with COVID-19 are exhibiting a lower score in an intelligence test as opposed to people that didn't have the coronavirus.

SARS-CoV-2 Linked with Significant Drop in Intelligence

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Imperial College London ICL's Computational, Cognitive, and Clinical Neuroimaging Laboratory expert and co-author of the study Adam Hampshire said that their interest to pursue the research regarding the correlation of COVID-19 and cognitive ability was purely coincidental. Hampshire completed a comprehensive cognitive and mental record in part by BBC2 Horizon and the Great British Intelligence Test when the pandemic surged. A large part of the cognitive data he collected was from the United Kingdom.

The cognitive tests that Hampshire produced were designed based on the citizen science and clinical research structure. With the help of his colleagues, Hampshire compared examined the data gathered from the cognitive tests in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic's effect on mental and cognition states.

Together with his team, Hampshire has analyzed the records collected from over 81,000 subjects that can completer the intelligence test. The test results that were analyzed were handed out throughout 2020. Over 12,000 from the total participant count were reported to experience varying respiratory infections due to COVID-19.

The study of cognitive ability and COVID-19 correlation was published in the journal EClinicalMedicine, entitled "Cognitive deficits in people who have recovered from COVID-19." Based on the study, people who contracted the coronavirus experienced greater cognitive deficits than those who did not have COVID-19 infection. The COVID-19 survivors underperformed in the cognitive test that included problem-solving, planning, and basic reasoning. The results were heavily anchored with the 'brain fog' effects of COVID-19, where selecting correct words and concentration issues are evident.

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Cognitive Decline in COVID-19 Survivors

An earlier study published in the journal Psychology for Clinical Settings, entitled "Neuropsychiatric and Cognitive Sequelae of COVID-19," happened to identify cognitive implications of COVID-19 as well to people diagnosed with the virus.

Hampshire emphasized that people should be aware of the cognitive effects of COVID-19 on our mental health. Today, there is no strong scientific evidence yet to prove why or how the virus inflicts cognitive ability, and there is no telling how long the virus disrupts mental cognition. Fortunately, Hampshire informed that they are conducting additional researches on the reason behind this medical revelation. The expert also said that the best resolution is to get vaccinated and do not take any unnecessary risks.

The COVID-19 effects on cognition, according to the study, are also associated with the severity level inflicted by the illness while subjects were diagnosed with the coronavirus. The patients who recovered from COVID-19 had dropped an estimate of 7 points in IQ. The cognitive decrease was even larger for the individuals that had COVID-19-related illness that was severe, including stroke, compared to the normal symptoms, reports PysPost.

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