¿Qué es la niebla mental que afecta a los pacientes covid-19?

(CNN Español) — Cognitive impairment and covid-19 are closely related, according to recent investigations related to the secondary effects of the pandemic.

One of these symptoms is the “mental fog”, as it is known to the cognitive impairment, which can persist for months in some patients with covid-19 who were hospitalized, and included in some who were not, according to an investigation published in 2021 en la journal JAMA Network Open.

In this study, it was established that around a quarter of the patients who had covid and who were part of the Mount Sinai Health System registry, in New York, experienced some memory problems. Y si bien los pacientes que estaban hospitalizados eran más propensos a padecer la llamada “mental niebla” después de una infección por coronavirus, algunos ambulatoryos también sufrieron cognitive deterioration.

“Este patrón es coherente con los primeros informes que describen un síndrome disejecutivo después del covid-19 y tiene considerable implicaciones para los resultados occupacionales, psicologios y funcionales”, wrote the researchers.

Another investigation, published in April 2021 in the Lancet Psychiatry magazine, discovered that up to 1 in 3 people with covid-19 presented long-term neurological or mental health symptoms.

Among the most recurring symptoms of the mental fog “there are problems of concentration, and frequently they have more anxiety and depression,” said CNN el Dr. Gabriel Erausquin, professor of neurology at the Health Sciences Center of the University of Texas, who did not participate in this study, but in another one that studied cognitive impairment and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease in patients with covid-19.

Covid-19: una lista que estremece 4:23

El covid produces problemas de memoria a largo plazo

This other study mentioning the Center for Health Sciences of the University of Texas was done in the Argentine population and showed the relations between covid-19, cognitive deterioration and the acceleration of symptoms similar to those of alzhéimer. It was published on July 2021.

Los researchers de un consorcio internacional buscaban comprender las consecuencias a largo plazo del covid-19 sobre el sistema nervosa central. Encontraron problemas de memoria y marcadores biologicos similares a los observados en los pacientes con alzhéimer. Both diseases are characterized by inflammation of the brain.

Entre tres y seis meses después de haberse infectedado, más de la mitad de los pacientes seguían teneido problemas de olvidos y approximación una cuarta parte experimentaba problemas cognitivos adicionales. The degree of enfermedad de un paciente con covid-19 no era un indicadora de si experimentaría un deterioro cognito.

“La gravedad de la enfermedad inicial no predice quién va a padecer esto”, “De hecho, muchos de ellos tenien symptoms mínimos: only un resfriado o pérdida de olfato”.

Eruasquin and his colleagues studied a más de 200 adults de 60 años o más de Argentina que se habian contagiado de covid-19.

Covid-19: una lista que estremece 4:23

The cognitive problem comes from covid-19

Entre los problemas cognitivos que presentaron estos pacientes estaban:

  • Olvidos persistentes
  • Dificultad para sequenciar tareas
  • Forget palabras y frases

“These findings suggest that patients who have covid-19 may have an acceleration of symptoms and pathology related to Alzheimer’s,” Dr. Thomas Wisniewski, professor of neurology at the Grossman Faculty of Medicine at the University of New York, who participated in this study.

According to the CDC, other long-term covid symptoms are:

  • Cansancio o fatiga que interfiere con la vida diaria
  • Symptoms that worsen after physical or mental exertion
  • Fever
  • Dificultad para pensar o concentrarse (denominada “mental fog”)
  • Dolor de cabeza
  • Problems before sleep
  • Mareos al ponerse de pie (stunning)
  • Sentimientos de alfileres y agujas
  • Cambio en el olfato o el gusto
  • Depression or anxiety

Cambios en el cerebro

In addition to cognitive problems, people who have had mild cases of covid-19 can have accelerated brain aging and other changes in it, according to a study published in Nature magazine in March 2022.

The study found that the brains of those who had covid-19 had a greater loss of gray matter and abnormalities in cerebral tissue compared to those who did not have covid-19. Muchos de esos cambios estaban en el área del cerebro relacionada con el sentido del olfato.

“Nos sorprendió mucho ver diferencias claras en el cerebro incluso con una infección leve”, said CNN in an email to principal author Gwenaëlle Douaud, associate professor of neurosciences at the University of Oxford.

Douaud and his colleagues evaluated brain images of 401 people who had covid-19 between March 2020 and April 2021, both before the infection and an average of four months and a half after the infection. They compared the results with cerebral images of 384 non-infected persons of similar age, socioeconomic level and risk factors such as arterial pressure and obesity. De las 401 infected persons, 15 had been hospitalized.

Douaud explained that it is normal that people lose between 0.2% and 0.3% of gray matter each year in areas of the brain related to memory as they age, but in the evaluation of the study, people who Those who have been infected with the coronavirus lose between 0.2% and 2% additional tissue compared to those who have not been infected.

— With information from Jacqueline Howard, Lauren Mascarenhas and Nadia Kounang from CNN

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