People who have had a serious case of Covid may have seen their IQ levels drop by 10 points and had their brain age by 20 years, according to a new study
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People could find their IQ levels slashed by 10 points along with their brain ageing by 20 years after having had a severe case of Covid, a new study has found.
While many scientific reports have suggested that Covid damages the working of the brain, a new study by the University of Cambridge and Imperial College London has specific findings.
It states that the cognitive impact of patients having a severe case of Covid is the equivalent to losing 10 IQ points.
And the deterioration is similar to 20 years of ageing from 50 to 70 years of age.
The study also suggests that these impacts are still noticeable more than six months after having the virus and that what recovery does happen is gradual.
The investigation saw an in depth study of 46 Brits who had Covid in 2020 and were treated at Addenbrooke’s Hospital – with 16 of whom on mechanical ventilation.
Measurements were made of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder with the results compared with average figures for members of the public.
The patients were matched with 66,008 members of the general public and this led to the findings of an equivalent IQ loss of 10 points as well as the ageing of 20 years.
Professor Adam Hampshire, one of the study authors from Imperial College London, said: “Around 40,000 people have been through intensive care with Covid-19 in England alone.
“Many more will have been very sick but not admitted to hospital. This means there is a large number of people out there still experiencing problems with cognition many months later. We urgently need to look at what can be done to help these people.”
Anaesthetist and brain expert Professor David Menon said that cognitive improvements were slow and limited.
He said: “We followed some patients up as late as ten months after their acute infection, so we were able to see a very slow improvement. This is at least heading in the right direction, but it is very possible that some of these individuals will never fully recover.”
In 2019, a study found people who have recovered from Covid are more likely to score lower on intelligence tests.
The study, reported BirminghamLive, said: “These results accord with reports of long-COVID, where ‘brain fog’, trouble concentrating and difficulty finding the correct words are common.”