What are the cognitive effects of COVID-19?
COVID-19 can generate any number of problems for patients, often playing out in different symptoms affecting the CNS and PNS as noted above. Because of their already sensitive neurological systems, older adults are more susceptible to instances of cognitive issues. These symptoms affecting the CNS and PNS include:
- Cerebrovascular disease
- Sleep disorders
These effects are particularly concerning to older adults as they bring about new concerns and potential complicate other existing conditions.
What are the long-term effects of COVID-19 on cognitive issues?
While we cannot make any definitive conclusions at this point, it is apparent that COVID-19 infections result in increased risk factors for dementia. It is very possible that we will see an escalation of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia in our population.
We can confirm that long term effects of COVID-19 on the brain can include both functional changes as well as structural changes to this vital organ. Recent neuroimaging studies have shown that older adults have incurred cerebrovascular damage in the brain’s white matter, the brain stem, and frontotemporal corical areas. Another study showed that neurological symptoms in patients who recovered from COVID-19 were associated with hypometabolism in frontotemporal regions.
Studies shared through the 2021 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference point out that COVID-19 patients show a strong correlation between neurological symptoms and brain injury, neruoinflammation, and Alzheimer’s. More studies are required, but we see an unsettling tendency for COVID-19 infections to lead toward cognitive impairment.
Future observations and studies will help us determine whether COVID-19 infections add to the risk of prospective cognitive issues and dementia.
If you believe COVID-19 has affected your mental health, please contact us.