Covid causes drop in IQ – study

Aprilia Rine

Covid causes drop in IQ – study

The cognitive decline could reach up to nine points in some cases, scientists have claimed

The long-term consequences of Covid-19 could include decreased cognitive abilities and memory deficiency, a new large-scale study has found.

According to research published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Thursday, patients who had recovered from coronavirus symptoms had a cognitive deficit equivalent to three IQ points compared with those who had never been diagnosed with it. Meanwhile, study participants with unresolved persistent symptoms had an IQ decline of six points.

The Covid impact was even more pronounced when it came to those who were admitted to the intensive care unit, with the IQ loss reaching nine points compared to the control group. At the same time, the scientists “observed a small cognitive advantage among participants who had received multiple vaccinations,” the research claims. 

The study said that there are “multiple underlying factors” that contribute to post-Covid cognitive decline. “Our results confirmed associations of cognitive deficits with mood swings and fatigue but also with a variety of other symptoms,” researchers said.

The Journal’s editorial dedicated to the study called its results concerning, given the scope of the Covid-19 pandemic, noting that “the broader implications require evaluation.”

At the same time, the results indicated that those who suffered cognitive decline due to persistent Covid symptoms could later regain part of their ability, reaching the level of those who managed to recover quickly.

A total of 800,000 people were invited to take part in the study in England, with around 113,000 completing it. The participants were asked to do a number of online tests to evaluate their cognitive abilities. One of the major caveats of the research, however, was the lack of data on participants’ IQ level before they contracted Covid, which meant that their cognition was measured against those who did not have the disease rather than their own abilities.

According to World Health Organization data, there have been a total of 774 million recorded Covid cases globally, with seven million reported deaths. Apart from an apparent cognitive decline, the long-term effects of Covid could include chronic pain, brain fog, shortness of breath, chest pain, and fatigue.

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