Neurological Symptoms Persist After SARS-CoV-2 Infection

WEDNESDAY, June 22, 2022 — Only one-third of individuals with neurologic symptoms following acute severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection report complete symptom resolution by six months, according to a study published online June 15 in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology.

Jacqueline E. Shanley, from the University of California in San Diego, and colleagues recruited participants with neurologic symptoms following acute SARS-CoV-2 infection from Oct. 9, 2020, to Oct. 11, 2021. Fifty-six participants were enrolled (29 percent with prior neurologic disease such as multiple sclerosis); 27 completed the six-month follow-up visit.

The researchers found that the most common neurologic symptoms were fatigue and headaches (89.3 and 80.4 percent, respectively) at baseline, following acute infection. Memory impairment and decreased concentration (68.8 and 61.5 percent, respectively) were the most prevalent symptoms at the six-month follow-up, although all symptoms showed a reduction in reported severity score, on average, at follow-up. By six months, complete symptom resolution was reported in 33.3 percent of participants. The average Montreal cognitive assessment scores improved overall from baseline to six months; participants’ scores decreased in 26.3 percent. In 7.1 percent of patients, a syndrome consisting of tremor, ataxia, and cognitive dysfunction was reported.

“To have people’s cognition and quality of life still impacted so long after infection is something we as a society need to be taking a serious look at,” a coauthor said in a statement. “We still need to know how common this is, what biological processes are causing this, and what ongoing health care these people will need.”

One author disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.

Abstract/Full Text

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