They had coronavirus. Now they’re showing up at memory clinics with serious cognitive loss |
Nov 24, 2020 |
NJ.com – There’s the man who used to be so handy around the house, he could repair just about anything.
“But he had a problem with the fence, and he had to call his brother over to help fix it,” says Dr. Jacqueline Rondeau, director of the Montclair Memory Clinic.
And there’s the registered nurse whose memory is suddenly failing her. “She didn’t know what day it was,” Rondeau says. “She’s forgetting a lot of things.”
These new patients were referred to the Montclair Memory Clinic in recent months with one thing in common. They had coronavirus, and now they’re experiencing significant cognitive impairment — the kind more typically seen in someone who is at risk for dementia.
“I have had a handful of post-COVID patients, and they are having serious problems,” says Rondeau, a neuropsychologist who’s been treating people with memory loss for nearly two decades.
“We’re talking about people who were functioning normally (prior to contracting coronavirus), but now they’re not able to function the way they used to,” she says. “There can be neurocognitive impairment. There can be neurobehavioral impairment, or emotional impairment.”
The trend is being seen not just here in New Jersey, but at memory centers around the country and globally. The journal Neurology Today is reporting hundreds of COVID-19 “long-haulers” being treated for cognitive problems at specialty clinics set up in areas hardest hit by the virus.
Experts say it will take years of study to understand how coronavirus affects cognition and how severe or long-lasting the impact might be. But this much we already know: coronavirus is bad for the brain in ways that become immediately apparent in many people who have it … Read more.
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