Neuropsychological functioning in severe acute respiratory disorders caused by the coronavirus: implications for the current COVID-19 pandemic

Link to article at PubMed

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.

PMID:32901580 | DOI:10.1080/13854046.2020.1803408

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