(KPIX) – A new report from the United Kingdom shows why you don’t want COVID-19 to rip through communities. Researchers are now detecting a significant relationship between a COVID infection and a drop in IQ. The impact is even seen among those never hospitalized.
A year ago, Rosie Flores from San Francisco was infected with the coronavirus.
“I think of it as a tornado that has come thru – that’s the active virus. But when the tornado is gone what kind of devastation has it left,” asked Rosie.
For her and others, that devastation includes significant cognitive changes like being unable to focus, unable to concentrate, and process information.
Now researchers in the United Kingdom have detected a disturbing trend. Among those infected, even those never hospitalized, they found a drop in intelligence. The more severe the infection, the greater the problem. Some lost 7 points on the IQ scale.
“I think that it really remains to be seen whether these will last forever whether they will go away in a few years I think they’ll be a lot of variability…I probably have over 50 patients that I’ve seen in the past year the only reasonable explanation for their cognitive changes is COVID,” said Dr. Joanna Hellmuth, a cognitive neurologist at the University of California-San Francisco.
Dr. Hellmuth said medical professionals will have to look back on COVID-19 as a neurological disease.
Diana Berrent runs Survivor Corps., a large grassroots organization that supports and mobilizes patients suffering from persistent symptoms. She is urging a more comprehensive approach.
Dr. Hellmuth also urges young and healthy people to get vaccinated in part because of the neurological effects.
“Previously healthy people are gettingCOVID not bad enough that they’re hospitalized.. some of these individuals have prolonged neurological issues,” she said.
Unlike the British study, Dr. Hellmuth is tracking patients over time to see if their cognitive changes are temporary, if they improve, or if they remain the same.