OBJECTIVE: Long-term cognitive sequelae of COVID-19 have not been extensively studied. This study provides initial results on cognitive outcomes in Post-Acute Sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC). Participants and Methods: This study examined 53 consecutive outpatients diagnosed with COVID-19. Four participants were excluded due to performance validity test failure. All participants had positive COVID-19 tests, reported cognitive concerns, and completed neuropsychological tests to assess performance validity, attention/working memory, processing speed, memory, language, visual-spatial, executive functioning, motor, and emotional functioning. The sample was mostly white (89.8%), female (83.7%), and never hospitalized (69.4%) for COVID-19.
RESULTS: Analyses indicated no mean scores in the Impaired range (>2 standard deviations [SD] below normative mean) on objective cognitive testing and a low base rate of Impaired test scores. Higher (>20%) base rates of Borderline performance (1-2 SDs below normative mean) were found on some measures. There was also evidence for frequently elevated mean scores on mood measures which correlated with some cognitive measures and the number of Borderline scores per participants.
CONCLUSIONS: The results were noteworthy for infrequent Impaired scores, and significant correlations between cognition and mood/anxiety measures, but not between cognitive performance and premorbid vascular risk factors, psychiatric diagnoses, or COVID-19 disease severity. Results suggest that psychological distress was prominent in PASC and related to objective cognitive performance, but objective cognitive performance was unrelated to cognitive complaints. Other contributing factors may include fatigue/sleep issues. Neurologically based cognitive deficits were not suggested by the results.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health?s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, grant UL1TR002494. The authors would like to acknowledge the assistance of the cadre of professional psychometrists who assisted in the development of the database for this study and the clinical evaluations of these individuals, Sean Hushagen, Molly Costa, and Kent Bone. The authors also wish to thank Kathryn Eagye and the staff of the Clinical and Translational Services Center at the University of Minnesota for their assistance in developing the database. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health?s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.
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- Long COVID-19
- cognitive functioning
- psychological functioning
- Cognition Disorders/diagnosis
- Disease Progression
- Neuropsychological Tests
- Executive Function
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article
- Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural