Cognitive impairment due to COVID-19

In the acute phase, COVID-19 can provoke severe brain dysfunction, but we do not yet know its impact on cognition and emotions over the short and long term. This project aims at studying post-COVID-19 neurocognitive deficits.

  • Background

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    COVID-19 is frequently associated with neurological and cognitive disorders in the acute phase of the infection. Neuroimmunological and vascular diseases have been identified as the potential causes of these impairments. Therefore, there is a high probability of long-term neuropsychological consequences, even for mild and moderate forms of COVID-19. It is also important to consider the neuropsychiatric problems induced by health measures such as lockdown, the fear of being infected and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, which also have a major impact on cognition and cognitive reserve.

  • Research aims

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    The objective of the COVID-COG project is to assess the neuropsychological consequences of COVID-19 at 6 and 12 months after infection. Furthermore, we want to determine whether these possible short- and long-term effects correlate with the severity of the disease in the acute phase, and/or with anticipated neuropsychiatric disorders in the wake of this massive public health crisis, such as anxiety, stress and post-traumatic stress disorder.

  • Expected results and envisaged products

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    Based on current hypotheses regarding neurological damage following severe infection with COVID-19, we expect to observe a harmful impact on neuropsychological functions that continues to impair patients’ functioning and quality of life 6 months and even 12 months post-infection. In addition, we aim to ascertain whether neuropsychological dysfunction occurs solely in patients with severe forms requiring intensive care, or also in patients with moderate or even mild forms of the infection. Finally, we will explore the impact of the psycho-traumatological consequences of containment measures such as lockdown and others on these neuropsychological impairments.

  • Specific contribution to tackle the current pandemic

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    It is extremely important to address these questions in order to identify the relevant predictive clinical, epidemiological and neuropsychiatric variables for developing cognitive impairment following COVID-19. This will enable us to develop specific rehabilitation programmes as early as possible, with a view to increasing individual patients’ cognitive health as well as avoiding any additional long-term economic costs of the pandemic.

  • Original title

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    Short- and long-term neuropsychological impairment following COVID-19 (COVID-COG)