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The effects of COVID-19 infection persist in patients after treatment




Patients infected with COVID-19 suffer from cognitive and behavioral problems that last as long as two months after discharge.

Persistent and harmful cognitive effects of COVID-19 infection

Italian scientists have identified possible viral overhangs in patients after COVID-19 who were followed up within 8 weeks.

A study presented at the 7th meeting of the European Academy of Neurology (EAN) found problems with memory, spatial cognition, and information processing that persisted two months after the patient was discharged. In this study, Italian patients were used to test their neurocognitive abilities in parallel with MRI examinations two months after experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

Our study confirms that significant cognitive and behavioral problems are associated with COVID-19 and persist for months after illness remission. “A particularly disturbing finding is a change in executive function that can make it difficult for people to focus. Plan, think flexibly, and remember things. These symptoms are labor. It affected 3 out of 4 younger patients. “

Professor Massimo Filippi of the Institute of Science and University Vita-Salute San Raffaele in Milan, Italy

More than half of the patients experienced cognitive impairment. Of those 50%, 16% had problems with working memory, flexible thinking, and information processing. All of these cover cognitive executive function. 6% of them also experienced visuospatial problems and 25% showed a combination of all these symptoms. In addition, the study found that 20% of patients reported post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and 16% had depressive symptoms.

COVID-19 (New Coronavirus Infection. Image Credit: GEMINI PRO STUDIO /

Unexpected vital differences and other mental health implications

Further analysis also revealed that psychopathological problems were much worse in younger people, as the majority of patients under the age of 50 experienced executive function problems. This was especially unexpected, as older patients are generally considered to be at greatest risk during this pandemic. However, the findings show that actual symptom profiles can vary significantly, especially when considering psychopathological issues.

The findings also showed that the combined effect was frequent among severe cases of infection. This was noticeable because the higher the severity of COVID-19 acute respiratory symptoms during hospitalization, the lower the performance of executive function.

Furthermore, considering the time scale, it was shown that cognitive impairment decreased from 53% to 36% in the same patient for more than 10 months, but PTSD and depressive symptoms persisted. This is especially insightful, as few studies can track patients over time.

Further investigation into cognitive and neurological damage to COVID-19

This study provides important findings of temporal changes in the psychopathological profile of infected patients. More data can further support the findings of this study and also consider whether different treatments or vaccinations affect the pattern of results described in this study.

Both larger studies and long-term follow-up are needed, but this study suggests that COVID-19 is associated with significant cognitive and psychopathological problems. Proper follow-up and treatment are essential to ensure that these previously hospitalized patients receive the appropriate support to help alleviate these symptoms. “

Dr. Kanu, a researcher at San Raffaele Hospital in Milan

This study is one of four scientific presentations on neurology. Symptoms of COVID-19, A research field that is rapidly emerging from this week’s EAN Congress.

Other studies include testing the frequency of post-hospital neurological symptoms based on this study, with 90% of patients showing post-COVID-19 symptoms, where neurological symptoms form an important part. Was shown. Another Ukrainian study found that 95% of patients had symptoms of neurocognitive impairment. Finally, the last study presented showed a high rate of neuronal damage in postmortem individuals infected with COVID-19.

Overall, research efforts are now extending beyond the physical symptoms of COVID-19 and are currently investigating neurological and cognitive deficits. Future studies will provide further insight into the full range of symptoms and whether they change over time before and after treatment.


  • COVID-19 Cohort cohort characteristics of patients after the acute phase. It was announced at the 7th EAN Congress 2021.


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