Clin Neuropsychol. 2020 Sep 9:1-27. doi: 10.1080/13854046.2020.1803408. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVE: The coronavirus class of respiratory viruses - including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) - has been associated with central nervous system (CNS) disease. In fact, multiple mechanisms of CNS involvement have been proposed, making it difficult to identify a unitary syndrome that can be the focus of clinical work and research. Neuropsychologists need to understand the potential cognitive and psychological sequelae of COVID-19 and the impact of the interventions (e.g., ICU, ventilation) that have been used in treating patients with severe forms of the illness.
METHOD: We briefly review the literature regarding the neurological and neuropsychological effects of similar coronaviruses, the limited information that has been published to date on COVID-19, and the literature regarding the long-term cognitive and psychological effects of undergoing treatment in the intensive care unit (ICU).
RESULTS: We discuss the roles that neuropsychologists can play in assessing and treating the cognitive difficulties and psychiatric symptoms described.
CONCLUSIONS: At this time, the mechanisms, correlates, and effects of COVID-19 are poorly understood, but information gleaned from the literature on similar viruses and utilized interventions should help inform neuropsychologists as they begin to work with this population.