COVID-19 survivors are three times more likely to report memory problems eight months later compared to those who test negative, as researchers say virus is not a ‘mild disease’
- A new study found that 11% of people with mild cases of COVID still had memory problems eight months later
- In comparison, only about 4% of people who tested negative reported similar memory problems
- Researchers worry about findings, say virus may not be a mild condition and could affect people long-term
- Previous research has shown that about 80% of people with severe COVID cases develop cognitive problems
People who contract COVID-19 and are not hospitalized report cognitive problems eight months after infection, a new study finds.
Researchers from the University of Oslo in Norway found that 11 percent of people with mild COVID-19 cases had memory problems eight months later.
That is three times more than people who tested negative for the virus.
The team said the findings are worrying, even saying medical experts should “rethink the idea that COVID-19 could be a mild disease.”
The data adds to the growing evidence that the virus can affect humans in the long term.
About 11 percent of people who suffered from mild cases of COVID still reported memory problems eight months later
For the study, published Thursday in JAMA Network Open, researchers contacted: to every person in Norway who tested for the virus from February 1 to April 15.
At the time, only symptomatic people were tested.
A random sample of the Norwegian population was selected and also approached for the study to form a control group.
A total of 13,001 people were included in the study, and those hospitalized with the virus were removed to ensure only mild cases of COVID were included in the study.
Participants completed a questionnaire in which they reported whether they felt their memory had gotten worse since they tested for the virus.
Of the 651 participants who had a mild form of COVID, 72 reported having had memory problems in the past three weeks.
About 12 percent, or 81 participants in that group, also reported having trouble concentrating in the past three weeks.
About four percent of those who tested negative, 251 out of 5,712, also reported memory problems.
Of the control group, 80 of the 3,342 people – two percent – reported memory problems.
The limitation of the study is that it contains only self-reported data and no objective scans were performed on participants to determine cognitive levels.
Still, researchers are concerned about the findings and call for more research into how even mild cases of the virus can denigrate a person’s cognitive abilities.
Extensive research has already been done on how the virus may have long-term effects on the cognitive ability of people with severe cases.
A June survey found that 80 percent of people hospitalized with the virus had some sort of cognitive problem — and those problems are more dangerous than average.
Norway, a country of 5.3 million people, has largely been able to bring the pandemic under control.
The Scandinavian nation has recorded 137,000 cases and 799 deaths since the virus reached it in February 2020.
Bloomberg even ranks the country as the safest to be in during the pandemic.
Like many countries around the world, Norway is currently experiencing a surge in cases due to the Indian ‘Delta’ variant, Delay the end of the country lockdown.
The US is also experiencing a surge in cases due to the variant, although the country is unlikely to go into lockdown again.
Nearly 35 million cases have been registered in the US since the pandemic first started, meaning there are many people who could potentially develop cognitive problems from the virus.