| 14 April 2024, Sunday |

Significant drop in IQ levels detected in recovered COVID-19 patients: UK study

A significant drop in intelligence was detected in patients who recovered from the coronavirus, especially among those who had a severe case of the virus, a new study published in the United Kingdom found last week.

Those who had previously contracted the virus scored lower on intelligence tests and cognitive assessments than those who were never infected, the study published on July 22 in The Lancet journal EClincalMedicine showed.

Before the coronavirus outbreak spread worldwide, Adam Hampshire, cognitive neuroscientist at Imperial College London began working with the BBC on a nationwide cognitive study to determine the general level of the UK’s intelligence.

By May, when the pandemic had forced countries worldwide to go into lockdown and close their borders, Hampshire and his team incorporated questions related to COVID-19 into the surveys to determine whether the disease would have any lasting effects on cognitive abilities.

“At the time of writing, we had collected comprehensive cognitive test and questionnaire data from a very large cross-section of the general public, predominantly within the UK, as part of the Great British Intelligence Test – a collaborative project with BBC2 Horizon,” the researchers said.

“During May, at the peak of the UK lockdown, we expanded the questionnaire to include questions pertaining to the impact of the pandemic, including suspected or confirmed COVID-19 illness, alongside details of symptom persistence and severity, relevant pre-existing medical conditions, and measures of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress,” they added.

The researchers looked at data from 81,337 individuals across the UK and adjusted for a variety of factors, including age, sex, education level, first language, and other variables.

They found that the more severe a COVID-19 infection was, the more likely the recovered person would have a greater drop in intelligence. The most significant deficits were found in tasks that evaluated reasoning, planning, and selective attention. Previous large-scale studies have shown COVID-19 patients suffer from “brain fog” long after they have recovered.

  • alarabiya