In the study, a group of Brazilian researchers analyzed clinical data from 701 patients hospitalized for moderate or severe COVID-19.
Results reported in the European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience showed that a moderate or severe reduced sense of taste was the most frequently reported sensory complication (20 percent), followed by moderate or severe olfactory deficit (18 percent), a Moderate or severe deficits of both smell and taste (11 percent), and parosmia (9 percent) or distortion of olfactory perception, so that a previously enjoyed odor becomes unpleasant, for example.
Olfactory hallucinations (the smell of which were not known to others) were reported by 12 participants, and taste-related hallucinations (experiencing a taste without having eaten something) were reported by nine. In both the cases, most said that the hallucinations occurred only after covid.
Those reporting parosmia (Covid-associated loss of smell) were found to have more memory problems than the rest, while those with moderate or severe taste loss fared significantly worse. Those who reported moderate or severe loss of both smell and taste were also found to have significantly impaired episodic memory.
“We found no psychotic symptoms (such as anxiety or depression) to be associated with loss of smell and taste, but as expected, we observed that patients with greater chemosensory changes had worse attention and episodic memory,” said Rodolfo Damiano. Said , doctoral candidate from the University of So Paulo Medical School (FM-USP) in Brazil.
“This finding confirms the hypothesis that cognition affects cognition, and that damage in this area is not only due to psychosocial or environmental causes.”
The team said the COVID-related loss of smell stems from inflammation in the olfactory mucosa caused by SARS-CoV-2.
The cognitive loss seen in Alzheimer’s and post-Covid syndrome derives from different pathological processes, but these may overlap, explained psychiatrist Orestes Forlenza, professor in FM-USP’s Department of Psychiatry.
“This is particularly the case in older people who already have primary cognitive symptoms and contract COVID. There is preliminary evidence that this overlapping of pathogenic factors may accelerate or accelerate the progression of cognitive loss,” he said. .
However, the exact mechanism for cognitive impairment in COVID patients is unknown.
“Our hypothesis is that the virus causes neuroinflammation, which leads to cognitive impairment. We don’t yet know whether the damage is permanent. We will continue to follow patients to see if these complications go away. Go,” Damiano said.
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