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Researchers reveal major COVID side effects on the brain

COVID-19 side effects could increase memory loss and brain fog

Kai Palmer gets tested for COVID-19.
Kai Palmer gets tested for COVID-19 outside of the Maverik Center in West Valley City on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Memory loss and brain fog may be long-term coronavirus symptoms, researchers discovered in a new study.

The study — published in the medical journal JAMA Network Open — reviewed data for 740 participants, some of whom were infected with the coronavirus and some who had received the COVID-19 vaccine.

  • The researchers reviewed data from April 2020 through May 2021.

For the study, the researchers measured cognitive functioning using “well-validated neuropsychological measures,” like counting numbers forward and backward, a language test and more, according to Fox News.

  • The researchers found the biggest cognitive deficits were in memory recall and encoding.
  • Hospitalized patients experienced “impairments in attention, executive functioning, category fluency, memory encoding and memory recall,” according to Fox News.

Since last year, brain fog and memory issues have been linked to coronavirus infections. For example, Dr. Shruti Agnihotri, a neurologist at the University of Alabama Birmingham, told ABC 33/40 said she has spoken with patients who experienced the condition.

  • “Often times these patients may have even recovered from the initial fever and shortness of breath symptoms and they continue to have very severe headaches and tend to often complain about memory loss, often referred to as a brain fog.”

Agnihotri said some coronavirus patients suffer long-term issues similar to concussions.

  • “Patients often times describe difficulty with attention, focus, just not feeling right, not as sharp as they have otherwise been. We sometimes see these symptoms in many other conditions, during post-concussion, and we also see them after various other infections too,” Agnihotri told ABC 33/40.