Neuropsychological Outcomes in Adult Patients and Survivors of COVID-19

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is believed to affect central nervous system functions through various indirect, and possibly direct, mechanisms. We are only now beginning to understand the possible effects of the virus on human cognition. This review summarizes extant yet limited literature on clinical neuropsychological findings in adult coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients and survivors. Neuropsychological outcomes were often in the form of cognitive screen results, although various studies administered comprehensive batteries. With respect to screens, the Montreal Cognitive Assessment appeared relatively sensitive to cognitive dysfunction associated with COVID-19. Patients and survivors presented with weaknesses on screens and comprehensive batteries, although the pattern of these weaknesses was not specific to etiology. Broadly, weaknesses were suggestive of executive dysfunction, although more than one study did not detect significant impairment. Weaknesses should be interpreted cautiously due to potential confounds/contributing factors (weaknesses may partly reflect psychiatric sequelae; weaknesses may be over-interpreted due to inadequate assessment of premorbid functioning). Studies reported different approaches in defining impairment, likely contributing to variable findings. The current review discusses ongoing efforts to harmonize approaches to evaluating neuropsychological functioning globally, as well as emphasizes taking a comprehensive approach towards understanding how the disease affects cognition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number465
JournalPathogens
Volume11
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2022

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • cognition
  • coronavirus
  • neuropsychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Molecular Biology
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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