Date of Award
Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences
Increasing evidence suggests that individuals affected with COVID-19 may be at high risk for developing long-term neurological consequences (Heneka et al., 2020). Psychological stress may also increase risk in cognitive impairment, which can lead to mental fatigue. However, research studies suggest that there is a relationship between physiological and psychological factors affecting cognitive function (Scott et al., 2015). The mechanistic understanding of neurological symptoms in patients affected with COVID-19 regarding whether they emerge from mental illness or directly from the invasion of SARS-CoV-2 into the central nervous system is limited (Mahammedi et al., 2020). Factors affecting the brain can lead to mental fatigue, which is a type of condition that is triggered when the use of cognitive activity is extended for a long period of time (Penner & Paul, 2017). Although certain neurobehavioral abnormalities can arise from COVID-19, measuring the abnormalities objectively poses an issue due to lack of objective testing. Cognitive impairment can have a considerable negative impact on everyday social activities and quality of life, making this a challenging topic for both healthcare professionals and patients (Jonasson et al., 2018). Identifying risk factors that can be modified prior to developing cognitive impairment, especially during an individual’s midlife, also represents a challenge in improving one’s overall quality of life as well as controlling the costs of healthcare (Scott et al., 2015). Therefore, understanding neural mechanisms underlying cognitive processing may contribute towards developing future treatment strategies that will help individuals suffering from cognitive impairment. Several studies have shown which regions of the brain are affected by an infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (Radmanesh et al., 2020; Katal & Gholamrezanezhad, 2021). Additional studies analyzed the effect of COVID-19 and stress on cognitive function through methods involving questionnaires to obtain information to determine participants’ psychological morbidities and fatigue, a neuropsychological assessment of COVID-19 patients to measure different aspects of neurocognitive functioning, and surveys such as KAP (Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices) model (Qi et al., 2020; Almeria et al., 2020; Morgul et al., 2020). Researchers have found that there are methods which can be used to assess and measure certain factors that affect cognitive functioning. The findings of these studies will improve one’s understanding of environmental, physiological, and psychological factors that can lead to cognitive impairment. This will also allow researchers to measure certain factors as well as to discover ways to intervene and prevent potential targets that may cause cognitive impairment due to COVID-19. Therefore, psychological stress should be considered in this regard since this risk factor essentially represents a target for prevention and intervention strategies (Scott et al., 2015).
Mufti, Saba, "Neurological and Psychological Effects of COVID-19 on Cognitive Impairment" (2021). PCOM Capstone Projects. 27.