There’s a reason for that (or so “scientists” tell us.)
So will we stop calling people “stupid” and just call them “covid?” As in, “he so fucking covid.”
Between January and December last year, scientists conducted the Great British Intelligence Test that examined the IQ of 81,337 people.
Among that number were 13,000 who had been infected with the virus.
Once the scientists had factored out things like age, sex, language and education level, they found people recovering from Covid saw the biggest decline.
Tasks requiring problem solving, planning and reasoning were harder for them than for people who hadn’t had the virus.
In the worst cases, when people had been on a ventilator to beat the disease, the researchers recorded a seven-point drop in intelligence.
The data was collected together and published in a study called: Cognitive Deficits In People Who Have Recovered From COVID-19′.
It was published in the medical journal the Lancet and involved researchers from Imperial College London, Kings College and the Universities of Cambridge, Southampton and Chicago.
‘These results accord with reports of long-Covid, where ‘brain fog’, trouble concentrating and difficulty finding the correct words are common,’ the authors wrote.
‘The deficits were of substantial effect size for people who had been hospitalised.’
The scientists suggest that one reason for the intelligence drop was the continued effect of the virus on our ability to think clearly.
For example, it’s much harder to concentrate if you’re suffering from a high temperature or respiratory problems because you’ve got long Covid.
‘Previous studies in hospitalised patients with respiratory disease not only demonstrate objective and subjective cognitive deficits but suggest these remain for some at 5-year follow-up,’ the authors note.
The researchers urge caution on drawing too many conclusions without brain imaging data. Instead, they say the results should act as a clarion call for further research into the issue.
Interestingly, separate research on the effects of long Covid on the brain has taken imaging into account.
A preprint study, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, has been published suggesting neurodegenerative diseases (for example: Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s or cancer) could be more likely to develop after Covid spreads through nerves in the brain.
‘UK Biobank scanned over 40,000 participants before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, making it possible to invite back in 2021 hundreds of previously-imaged participants for a second imaging visit,’ the academics wrote in their paper.
‘Here, we studied the effects of the disease in the brain using multimodal data from 782 participants from the UK Biobank Covid-19 re-imaging study, with 394 participants having tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection between their two scans.
‘We identified significant effects of Covid-19 in the brain with a loss of grey matter in the left parahippocampal gyrus, the left lateral orbitofrontal cortex and the left insula.’
Grey matter is the part of the brain containing all its nerve synapses and most of its cell bodies. The latter includes microglial cells which are the brain’s version of white blood cells that help it to fight off diseases.
Therefore, any damage to or loss of grey matter can impair someone’s ability to function.
Interestingly, the authors of this study can’t say for sure that there is any loss of cognitive function, despite damage to grey matter. That seems to go against the findings suggested by the Lancet paper.