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Prevalence and Predictors of Prolonged Cognitive and Psychological Symptoms Following COVID-19 in the United States

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  • Jennifer A Frontera
  • Ariane Lewis
  • Kara Melmed
  • Jessica Lin
  • Daniel Kondziella
  • Raimund Helbok
  • Shadi Yaghi
  • Sharon Meropol
  • Thomas Wisniewski
  • Laura Balcer
  • Steven L Galetta
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Background/Objectives: Little is known regarding the prevalence and predictors of prolonged cognitive and psychological symptoms of COVID-19 among community-dwellers. We aimed to quantitatively measure self-reported metrics of fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, anxiety, depression, and sleep and identify factors associated with these metrics among United States residents with or without COVID-19.

Methods: We solicited 1000 adult United States residents for an online survey conducted February 3-5, 2021 utilizing a commercial crowdsourcing community research platform. The platform curates eligible participants to approximate United States demographics by age, sex, and race proportions. COVID-19 was diagnosed by laboratory testing and/or by exposure to a known positive contact with subsequent typical symptoms. Prolonged COVID-19 was self-reported and coded for those with symptoms ≥ 1 month following initial diagnosis. The primary outcomes were NIH PROMIS/Neuro-QoL short-form T-scores for fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, anxiety, depression, and sleep compared among those with prolonged COVID-19 symptoms, COVID-19 without prolonged symptoms and COVID-19 negative subjects. Multivariable backwards step-wise logistic regression models were constructed to predict abnormal Neuro-QoL metrics.

Results: Among 999 respondents, the average age was 45 years (range 18-84), 49% were male, 76 (7.6%) had a history of COVID-19 and 19/76 (25%) COVID-19 positive participants reported prolonged symptoms lasting a median of 4 months (range 1-13). Prolonged COVID-19 participants were more often younger, female, Hispanic, and had a history of depression/mood/thought disorder (all P < 0.05). They experienced significantly higher rates of unemployment and financial insecurity, and their symptoms created greater interference with work and household activities compared to other COVID-19 status groups (all P < 0.05). After adjusting for demographics, past medical history and stressor covariates in multivariable logistic regression analysis, COVID-19 status was independently predictive of worse Neuro-QoL cognitive dysfunction scores (adjusted OR 11.52, 95% CI 1.01-2.28, P = 0.047), but there were no significant differences in quantitative measures of anxiety, depression, fatigue, or sleep.

Conclusion: Prolonged symptoms occurred in 25% of COVID-19 positive participants, and NeuroQoL cognitive dysfunction scores were significantly worse among COVID-19 positive subjects, even after accounting for demographic and stressor covariates. Fatigue, anxiety, depression, and sleep scores did not differ between COVID-19 positive and negative respondents.

Original languageEnglish
Article number690383
JournalFrontiers in Aging Neuroscience
Volume13
Pages (from-to)690383
ISSN1663-4365
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Research areas

  • cognitive, Community Dwellers, COVID-19, long-hauler, post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection, stressors

ID: 67642475