Covid-19 survivors witnessing cognitive deficit, drop in IQ: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on October 23, 2020 Published on October 23, 2020

The research noted learning deficit, drop in IQ, among other changes noticed in Covid-19 survivors.

A new study put forth concerning findings that showed Covid-19 recovered patients are exhibiting significant cognitive deficits.

Cognitive deficit denotes to impairment in an individual's mental processes that lead to the acquisition of information, and drive how an individual understands and acts.


The study is based on cognitive test data available from over 84,000 participants. This includes people who had suffered from severe infections and also individuals with mild disease who had not even reported breathing difficulties.

The aim of the study was to find out recovered Covid-19 patients demonstrated any signs of cognitive deficits related to semantic problem solving, spatial working memory, selective attention, and emotional processing.

A pre-print version of the paper is available in the server medRxiv.


The study found that participants who had recovered from Covid-19 exhibited significant cognitive deficits.

The researchers noticed that deficits are not associated with differences in age, education, underlying medical conditions, or other demographic and socioeconomic variables.

They also observed that this was prevalent in people who had not even reported breathing difficulties.

Also read: Aspirin can prevent cardiovascular complications in Covid cases: Study

Adam Hampshire (Imperial College London) and colleagues from other deemed universities said in their study: “Our analyses provide converging evidence to support the hypothesis that Covid-19 infection likely has consequences for the cognitive function that persist into the recovery phase.”

The study stated that hospitalised cases of Covid-19 witnessed large-to-medium scale global performance deficits, depending on whether they had required a ventilator or not.

Major changes

The research noted learning deficit, drop in IQ, among other changes noticed in Covid-19 survivors. The performance deficits scaled with the severity of respiratory symptoms.

The study also mentioned that the issues were more pronounced for semantic problem solving and visual selective attention than for more straightforward functions, including working memory span and emotional processing.

“People who have recovered from Covid-19 infection show particularly pronounced problems in multiple aspects of higher cognitive or ‘executive’ function,” said the team.

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Published on October 23, 2020
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