Long COVID is affecting adults' ability to concentrate, study shows
Long COVID is affecting adults' ability to concentrate, study shows iStock

Approximately 14% of adults who recovered from coronavirus report long-term symptoms after their recovery, Israel Hayom reported.

Among the most common symptoms are difficulty concentrating, muscle aches, weakness, and loss of taste and smell.

A new research by Leumit Health Care Services examined 714 adult (over age 18) recovered coronavirus patients, who were chosen from the 80,000 Leumit members who had recovered from COVID-19. The patients responded to a telephone survey which was conducted at least 12 weeks after their recovery from the virus.

The research did not include a control group of people who were not infected with coronavirus. It will be presented this week at Leumit's first-ever Research and Innovation Conference, Israel Hayom added.

The research showed that 10% of those recovered from coronavirus reported difficulty with memory or concentration, while 8.5% reported muscle aches, 7.6% reported muscle weakness, 6% reported that they still do not have a sense of smell or taste, and 3.8% reported suffering from headaches.

The frequency of most of the symptoms dropped six months after recovery from coronavirus, but there were symptoms which continued to affect recovered patients with great frequency: 9.2% said they were having difficulty with concentration or memory, 7.8% reported muscle aches, and 6.6% reported muscle weakness. These numbers remained similar among both recently recovered and not recently recovered patients.

It was also discovered that the number of symptoms which continued for over six months was higher in patients who suffered fever or muscle aches during the illness itself. At the same time, an adult's age and whether he was hospitalized were not found to be correlated with the chance of long COVID.

Dr. Ilan Green, Head of the Family Medicine Department at Leumit Health Services and lead researcher, said, "In a large sampling from the community of recovered people in Israel, the most common complaints were disruptions in memory and concentration, and muscle aches - similar to what was described in other projects from around the world. The loss of taste and smell during the acute illness is an indication of the virus' entry into the nervous system, and raises the chance of harm to memory and concentration in the long term."

"Long COVID is a multisystem syndrome which refers to the period which starts 12 weeks after the acute illness. The information in literature is very initial, and it shows that approximately 10% of those recovered will suffer at least one symptom during this period. The number of symptoms presented changes, and there is a lack of information on symptoms which continue for over six months, and which populations are at increased risk of being affected in the long-term."

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