AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — If you’re someone who has had COVID-19 in the past, and feel like the symptoms are lingering, you may be suffering from what researchers call “long COVID.”
After extensive study, researchers at MCG say they have found that one of the post-COVID symptoms they’re seeing in patients has to do with cognitive effects.
“These are patients that have been infected with COVID in the past,” Dr. Elizabeth Rutkowski said.
Associate Professor of neurology Dr. Elizabeth Rutkowski said their diagnosis doesn’t matter, it could have been mild, asymptomatic, or severe.
“And several weeks later, develop these long-term symptoms that don’t seem to go away despite the fact that the acute period of infection has seemed to resolve.”
Someone who may have long COVID will typically experience other cognitive issues like headaches and mental illnesses such as anxiety.
“Including foggy memory, trouble doing day-to-day- cognitive tasks and feeling a tremendous amount of fatigue, where something as simple as answering an email is enough to wipe them out– cognitively– for the rest of the day,” Dr. Rutkowski said.
Dr. Rutkowski says to perform the study, their team went back and looked at patient cases who had the coronavirus before COVID-19.
“They all seem to have similar effects, but knowing how large the scale was for this current pandemic, we started very early on, studying patients that were infected before a vaccine was ever developed.”
She says the more noticeable signs are everyday tasks.
“The most prominent cognitive symptoms people have are trouble with multitasking, concentration, and judgment. It seems to preferentially affect the frontal parts of the brain.”
While they haven’t found a cure to long COVID or an answer as to how long it could last, researchers do say there are ways to still function.
“The majority of patients, they will eventually, get better and better in the long run. Our study has not quite extended that far yet and that’s kinda the whole question that we as researchers have. But I do find that most patients recover within the first few months and then a little bit less than the course of a year,” Dr. Rutkowski said.