COVID-19 Associated Brain Fog and Neurocognitive Assessment


SAĞ A. T.

Cyprus Journal of Medical Sciences, vol.8, no.2, pp.115-120, 2023 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier

Abstract

BACKGROUND/AIMS: In this study, we aimed to make detailed neurocognitive assessments of patients who presented with brain fog after coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) infection and to investigate their complaints after one-year of follow-up. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Patients who had COVID-19, which was not severe enough to require intensive care, and who subsequently applied to neurology due to cognitive complaints were included in this study. A neurocognitive test battery was applied to those patients who agreed to detailed examination (n=16). This battery consisted of the following tests: mini-mental test, enhanced cued recall test, phonemic fluency, categorical fluency, digit span, counting the months backwards, clock-drawing, arithmetic operations, trail-making, cube copying, intersecting pentagons, and the interpretation of proverbs and similes. At one year, the patients were called by phone and questioned as to whether their cognitive complaints had persisted. Those patients with ongoing complaints were invited to the hospital and re-evaluated via cognitive tests. The results are presented in comparison with age-matched healthy controls (n=15). RESULTS: Almost all of the patients’ scores were within the “normal” range. The Spontaneous recall of the patients was statistically significantly lower than the controls (p=0.03). Although there were decreases in executive functions and central processing speed (trail making-A, trail making-B and reciting the months backwards tests) in the patient group, these differences were not statistically significant (p=0.07; p=0.14 and p=0.22, respectively) compared to the controls. We observed that the cognitive complaints of the patients had disappeared by the one-year follow-up. CONCLUSION: In our patients with brain fog, most of whom had mild COVID-19, we observed that among all cognitive functions, memory domain was most affected compared to the controls. At the one-year follow-up, COVID-related brain fog had disappeared.