COVID-19 Long Haul Symptoms May Include Memory Loss and ‘Brain Fog,’ Study Finds

With the amount of pandemic-related information released every day, it can be challenging to gauge the accuracy of everything you see. This is especially apparent regarding the supposed mental, psychological, and general cognitive after-effects of the respiratory virus. Regrettably, a good fraction of what you hear about COVID long-haul symptoms is true.

A recent study of 740 patients in the Mount Sinai Health System published in the peer-reviewed medical journal JAMA Network Open, found that patients who contracted COVID-19 suffered long-term cognitive deficits caused by the disease. This study was not limited to patients who received the coronavirus vaccine. Specifically, the study’s findings showed that memory problems and general “brain fog” presented themselves as residual symptoms of the virus.

What is “Brain Fog”?

Brain fog refers to a broader type of cognitive dysfunction that inhibits one’s ability to think of and remember information clearly. In this case, COVID long-haul-related brain fog affects the sufferer’s memory. Notably, it impacts their ability for memory encoding and memory recall. Those unfamiliar with the terms may wonder what they mean and what to be aware of.

“Memory Encoding” vs. “Memory Recall”

Memory encoding is the process of converting and storing visual, auditory, or semantic input as memory. For example, if someone were to tell you their phone number verbally, you would encode it in your memory based on that acoustic information. Alternatively, if you find a phone number in a directory or website, you will encode and place it in your memory based on that visual input. 

Memory recall refers to the process of retrieving those memories stored through memory encoding. For instance, if you spend time studying notes for an exam, it would be difficult to recall what you saw in your notebook come exam time. 

How Could I Be Affected By COVID-Related Cognitive Deficits?

Besides experiencing difficulties with memory encoding and memory recall due to the long-term effects of the virus, there are a few other cognitive deficits that may arise post-COVID that could hinder daily functioning. This includes lower processing speed and struggles with attention, executive functioning, and category fluency. Keep in mind that those hospitalized due to the virus are at a higher risk of suffering these cognitive impairments than those who have not. In addition, these conditions are much more prevalent among the elderly than in any other age group, according to a 2021 study by Oxford University and the National Institute for Health Research.

Some COVID-19 long-haul effects that could coincide with these cognitive impairments are trouble breathing, abdominal ailments, fatigue, pain, anxiety, and depression. If you suspect that you are experiencing any of these symptoms to the extent that it is affecting your ability to function day-to-day, consult with a doctor and Social Security disability attorney as soon as possible. This will help to ensure that your needs are addressed and taken care of.

Your Case Matters To Us

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and are now suffering from long-haul symptoms, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. At Henson Fuerst, we have been utilizing our wealth of legal knowledge to fight for those hurt and harmed during these incredibly trying times. To speak with one of our Social Security disability lawyers, submit an inquiry form on our website or call our office toll-free at 919-781-1107 today.

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