Categories: CoronavirusHealth

Coronavirus can knock eight points off your IQ


Coronavirus patients might face the risk of lasting mental damage. A study has found that coronavirus can reduce the mental age of a patient by 10 years. The drop in mental image is equivalent to an 8.5 point drop in IQ or the brain aging a decade.

Coronavirus patients have reported brain fog. The effect comes weeks or months after recovering from the virus.

There is no data regarding how long the effect can last. Patients might lose the record of everyday conversations or facts. The levels of memory fade depend on the severity of the disease. However, there are differences in factors like age, underlying health conditions, or education.

The study says the results should act as a “clarion call” for further studies on how coronavirus affects the brain.

The team included researchers from Cambridge University, University of Chicago and King’s College London, and Imperial College, London.

Cognitive impacts

Imperial College London conducted the study. The team said that coronavirus could have real ‘chronic cognitive consequences.’ The team also analyzed questionnaire answers from almost 85,000 people who had recovered from confirmed or suspected Covid-19.

Of those who took part, 60 Covid-sufferers were put on a ventilator, 147 were hospitalized with no ventilator, 176 were cared for at home due to respiratory problems, 3,466 struggled with their breathing. Still, it was not medically cared for, and 9,201 said they had Covid but with no difficulty breathing at all.

People who were under intensive care recorded a decade of loss of memory. Hence, this was equivalent to a 9.5 point drop in their IQ.

Effects after recovery

Recovered patients had an IQ drop of four points. Hence, this was equivalent to aging for five years. That means losing five years of your life from your memory. Coronavirus survivors also scored poorly on spatial orientation tests, emotional processing, and maintaining attention.

The study says its results support concerns that “there are chronic cognitive consequences of having COVID-19.” It reads:

“Individuals who recovered from suspected or confirmed Covid-19 perform worse on cognitive tests in multiple domains than would be ­expected, given their detailed age and demographic profiles.”

“This deficit scales with symptom severity and is evident amongst those without hospital treatment.”

The peer review of the article is yet to be done. Initial studies were conducted in May, and further studies will decide how long the brain fog will last.

Patient testimony

The Daily Mail spoke to Grace Dolman, a liver specialist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.

The 40-year-old patient developed symptoms of memory fog. Consequently, she had to lose her job. She said her concentration and memory are still poor. She said:

“I’m so tired all the time. I sleep from 11 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. and need another two-hour nap in the afternoon. I’ve had to stop going to the supermarket as just deciding what to buy left me exhausted.”

“This has destroyed my confidence. My words don’t come as easily, so even talking to friends is hard,” she added.

Image courtesy of GEMINI PRO STUDIO/Shutterstock

Leena Sharma

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Leena Sharma

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