Widespread evidence shows that cognitive problems are the second most commonly reported symptom (after fatigue) in the >20% of individuals globally suffering from post-COVID syndrome. 86% of people reporting memory problems said that this impacts their ability to work.
Several mechanisms have linked COVID-19 infection with cognitive impairment, but a growing body of research has demonstrated similarities in the pathology of post-COVID cognitive changes such as neuroinflammation and other brain conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, ‘chemo brain’ and other post-viral syndromes following infections such as influenza, HIV or Ebola.
There is now an urgent need to develop both diagnostic and treatment options for post-COVID cognitive impairment. In the UK, the NHS alone has recently invested £100 million to support long-COVID services and to establish pediatric hubs to co-ordinate care for young people.