Executive Dysfunction Following Covid-19 Infection

Over a year ago I did a post about executive dysfunction - what it is and how I felt I was suffering from it after my acute Covid-19 infection. I still have severe symptoms today. It was a self made diagnosis based on

the difficulties I was experiencing. I have had NO formal assessment of this despite explaining my symptoms several times to my specialists - even a neurologist who just looked at me blankly. I personally feel a little bit vindicated that the symptoms I KNOW are a result of my acute infection are real and true but I feel it is a terrible shame that even as a NHS GP I was and still am gaslit.

This post is worth noting and banking for future reference.

Today I am reviewing a preprint published 3 days ago titled "Executive dysfunction following SARS-CoV-2 infection: A cross-sectional examination in a population-representative sample".

What they trying to do?

To determine whether SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 symptom severity are associated with executive dysfunction among members of the general population, including those not hospitalized or exposed to intubation.

How did they do it?

Cross-sectional observation study with data from an ongoing national cohort study of young and middle-aged adults. The Canadian COVID-19 Experiences Survey (CCES) involves 1,958 adults with equal representation of vaccinated and vaccine-hesitant adults between the ages of 18 and 54 years.

The sample comprised 1,958 adults with a mean age of 37 years (SD=10.4); 60.8% were female.

The sample had SARS-CoV-2 infection with COVID-19 symptoms of any severity, ranging from negligible to life-threatening infection requiring hospitalization.

Symptoms of cognitive dysfunction were assessed via an abbreviated form of the Barkley Deficits in Executive Functioning Scale (BDEFS).

What did they find?

  • Those who reported a prior SARS-CoV-2 infection regardless of COVID-19 symptom severity reported a significantly higher number of symptoms of executive dysfunction than their non-infected counterparts. P=0.001) which is VERY significant.

  • Among those infected, there was a dose-response relationship between COVID-19 symptom severity and level of executive dysfunction, with moderate and very/extremely severe COVID-19 symptoms being associated with significantly greater dysfunction. These effects remained reliable and of similar magnitude after removing those who had been received intubation.

What did they conclude?

Positive SARS-CoV-2 infection history and COVID-19 symptom severity are associated with executive dysfunction among young and middle-aged adults with no history of medically induced coma.


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