IF you’ve had Covid-19 then you could be plagued by memory issues, researchers have warned.
Experts at Hull York Medical School said memory function can improve over time, but that those with ongoing Covid symptoms could continue to experience issues.
This is also known as long Covid, with many Brits suffering with the condition, which includes symptoms such as anxiety, brain fog and severe fatigue.
Medics said that it’s widely known the virus can cause respiratory issues, but that memory issues aren’t as well researched.
The experts used an online anonymous survey which included a memory quiz.
Over 5,400 people took part between December 2020 and July 2021, with around 31 per cent having had one Covid infection during that time.
The factors which significantly affected memory scores were found to be Covid-19 status, age, time post-Covid and whether individuals were experiencing ongoing symptoms.
Experts also looked at memory scores and found that those over the age of 25 had a decline in function.
Writing in Plos One, they said that memory scores gradually increased over a period of 17 months post-Covid.
However, those with ongoing symptoms continued to show a reduction in memory scores.
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Dr Heidi Baseler, senior lecturer in imaging sciences at Hull York Medical School, University of York, who was first author on the study, said: “Although it is well known that Covid-19 affects the respiratory system, it is perhaps less well known that it can also have neurological consequences and affect cognitive function, such as memory.”
It’s important to note that the study was conducted at a time when Covid variants such as Alpha and Delta were in circulation.
The current strain doing the rounds, Omicron, has proven to be milder than those that came before it.
Millions of Brits also now have protection from the bug in the form of vaccines or prior infection.
Dr Baseler added: “What the study demonstrates is that Covid-19 negatively impacts working memory or short-term memory function, but only in adults aged 25 years and over.
“While the survey suggests that memory function with Covid-19 can recover over time, our findings indicate that those with ongoing symptoms may continue to experience difficulty with short-term memory.”
A study published earlier this week also revealed that the illness can impact the brain up to six months after you have recovered from the bug.
Experts at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi found that those who had the virus had a significantly higher chance of abnormal changes in the brain.
Changes were mostly seen in the frontal lobe and medics said this region is mostly linked to fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, depression, headaches and cognitive problems,
Co-author Sapna S. Mishra, a PhD. candidate at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi said: “Our study highlights this new aspect of the neurological effects of Covid-19 and reports significant abnormalities in Covid survivors.”
Previous studies have shown that the virus can increase your risk of developing seizures or epilepsy within six months of being infected, medics in Oxford found.
Writing in the journal Neurology, the team at the University of Oxford said Covid poses a greater risk of the complication than flu – but added the overall risk is still low.
The increased risk was more noticeable in children than in adults and was also more common in those who had not been hospitalised with a Covid-19 infection, they found.
In July, medics in Denmark found that those who have the bug are more at risk of developing brain complications.
They found that 43,375 people who tested positive had a 3.5 times increased risk of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.