Background: Prior studies have documented reliable associations between SARS-CoV-2 infection and adverse cognitive impact, at least in older adults. The current study sought to determine whether SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 symptom severity are associated with cognitive dysfunction among young and middled-aged adults in the general population. Method: The Canadian COVID-19 Experiences Project (CCEP) survey involves 1958 adults with equal representation of vaccinated and vaccine hesitant adults between the ages of 18 and 54 years. The sample comprised 1958 adults with a mean age of 37 years (SD = 10.4); 60.8% were female. The primary outcome was symptoms of cognitive dysfunction assessed via an abbreviated form of the Barkley Deficits in Executive Functioning Scale (BDEFS) and performance on a validated delay-discounting task. Results: Young and middle-aged adults with a positive SARS-CoV-2 infection history reported a significantly higher number of symptoms of executive dysfunction (Madj = 1.89, SE = 0.08, CI: 1.74, 2.04; n = 175) than their non-infected counterparts (Madj = 1.63, SE = 0.08, CI: 1.47,1.80; n = 1599; β = 0.26, p = .001). Among those infected, there was a dose-response relationship between COVID-19 symptom severity and level of executive dysfunction, with moderate (β = 0.23, CI: 0.003–0.46) and very/extremely severe (β = 0.69, CI: 0.22–1.16) COVID-19 symptoms being associated with significantly greater dysfunction, compared to asymptomatic. These effects remained reliable and of similar magnitude after controlling for demographics, vaccination status, mitigation behavior frequency, and geographic region, and after removal of those who had been intubated during hospitalization. Very similar—and comparatively stronger—effects were found for the delay-discounting task, and when using only PCR confirmed SARS-CoV-2 cases. Conclusions: Positive SARS-CoV-2 infection history and COVID-19 symptom severity are associated with executive dysfunction among young and middle-aged adults with no history of medically induced coma. These findings are evident on self-reported and task-related indicators of cognitive function.

Fuente: Brain, Behavior, & Immunity – Health
Available online 21 March 2022, 100454