Even mild cases of Covid-19 affects memory & attention – study — Analysis

Oxford University researchers discovered that moderate symptoms can still have long-lasting cognitive effects.

Scientists from Britain’s Oxford University have revealed that people who have had mild Covid-19 and didn’t suffer from other widespread ‘long Covid’ symptoms in daily life still show degraded attention and memory for six to nine months after infection. 

Participants of the latest study had tested positive for Covid-19 previously, but didn’t report any ‘long Covid’ symptoms often present after acute infection, nor other health concerns after recovery. At the time of testing, they were no different than an uninfected controls group in terms of fatigue, forgetfulness or anxiety.

The exercises were designed to help people focus their attention on essential activities in everyday life such as planning and memory, sustaining attention, reasoning, and planning.

Researchers found that the participants did well on most tasks but had significantly less ability to remember personal details for six months following recovery. For up to nine months, they also showed a decrease in their ability to maintain attention.

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“What is surprising is that although our Covid-19 survivors did not feel any more symptomatic at the time of testing, they showed degraded attention and memory,”Sijia Zhao from the Department of Experimental Psychology at University of Oxford. “Our findings reveal that people can experience some chronic cognitive consequences for months.”

Checking their colleagues’ discovery, Stephen Burgess of the MRC Biostatistics Unit at the University of Cambridge pointed out the small group of people involved, adding that it was not randomized. 

“However, despite this, differences between the Covid and non-Covid groups in terms of several specific measures of cognitive ability looked at in this study were striking, particularly in terms of delayed memory tasks and ability to perform tasks accurately when fatigued,”He said. 

Previous studies showed that some individuals continue to experience cognitive symptoms, such as forgetfulness, difficulty in concentration, and fatigue after getting an acute Covid-19-related infection. “long Covid” symptoms. It is not known if mild Covid-19 infections can also affect cognitive performance.

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