Catching Covid can age your brain by 20 years and lower your IQ, study warns

According to a study, COVID could drop your IQ by 10 points and age your brain by 20 years.

People hospitalized with the bug can experience brain damage that lasts more than six months.

A study claims having Covid and needing hospital treatment can age the brain by 20 years


A study claims having Covid and needing hospital treatment can age the brain by 20 yearsPhoto credit: Getty

They may have trouble finding the right words, take longer to process information, or have a shorter attention span.

Vaccinations are still the best way to protect Brits from severe cases of Covid.

But in rare cases, it is the sickest patients who suffer the worst effects, Cambridge University scientists have said – with 40,000 people in England admitted to intensive care during the pandemic.

A study of 46 Brits hospitalized with Covid in 2020 found they did worse than expected on brain tests, compared with the average scores of 66,000 people.

Anesthetist and brain expert Professor David Menon said: “We only followed up some patients 10 months after their acute infection, so we saw a very slow improvement.

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“This is at least a step in the right direction, but it’s very possible that some of these individuals will never fully recover.”

Professor Menon explained that severe Covid can starve the brain of blood and oxygen, damage it.

Swelling caused by the body’s immune response to the bug can also occur destroy nerve cellshe added.

The damage’s effects are roughly equivalent to losing 10 points on an IQ test – the average IQ is 100.

This is similar to the normal decline in brain power that people see between the ages of 50 and 70, researchers said in the journal eClinicalMedicine.

Professor Adam Hampshire, one of the study’s authors from Imperial College London, said: “In England alone, around 40,000 people with Covid-19 have been treated in intensive care.

“Many more will have been very ill but not hospitalized.

“That means there are a large number of people out there who are still having problems with perception many months later.

“We urgently need to look at what can be done to help these people.”

While Omicron is a milder infection than previous variants like Delta and Alpha, it is more easily transmissible.

And now the sub-variant of Omicron, BA2, is now the dominant variety in the UK.

It is believed to be just as mild, especially in vaccinated people, but spreads much faster.

We have previously said how even a mild case of Covid can cause lasting brain damage.

Researchers looked closely at how the virus affects the central nervous system and the havoc it can wreak.

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A team from Tulane University found severe brain swelling and injury related to reduced blood flow or oxygen to the brain.

They also found evidence of minor hemorrhages, neuron damage, and death — even in primates that didn’t have a serious illness.

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