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“Problems even in children and asymptomatic people”: the doctor told how COVID-19 incapacitates memory

Patients who have undergone COVID-19 often complain of memory and attention problems. As the clinical psychologist of the St. Petersburg State Medical University named after N.I. Pavlova Maria Maltseva, even adolescents and asymptomatic people lose their memory. The medic urged not to panic and gave some tips on how to recover.

“At first, we noted memory problems only in those who went through intensive care and oxygen support. They thought that these were the consequences of hypoxia – the brain was damaged due to a lack of oxygen. But then, when the lighter patients came, many of whom were treated at home, we realized: the matter is different. The coronavirus has all the signs of neuroinfection. I even had patients who had asymptomatic covid – only the test was positive, but memory still suffered, ”Maltseva noted.

According to her, the patient’s age in this case does not matter.

“Modern children, in principle, do not remember well. If the older generation remembers the numbers of important phone numbers, addresses, street names, then the generation of gadgets does not need this: numbers are in the phone, addresses are in the navigator, they practically do not remember anything. And it becomes even more problematic if the child gets sick with something. After COVID-19, their memory ability suffers. You tell them 10 words and ask them to repeat them in an hour – they do not remember 9 out of 10. For an elderly person, this is comparable to profound dementia. And we are talking about quite healthy children, not poor students, ”she said.

Different people suffer from different memory: some have visual, others – auditory, and still others – spatial. In addition, attention problems arise – it is difficult for those who have recovered to concentrate.

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Moreover, both cognitive functions are closely related, since a person does not remember what he does not focus on, the doctor emphasized.

However, simple training helps to cope with the situation. So, Maltseva advises to learn poems and quotes, to count more often in the mind, to walk along the streets with new routes, memorizing street names and fixing unusual houses and objects. It also helps reading classical literature, where there are many complex sentences, with participial and participial phrases. They help to train the memory of the game – in words, in cards, in dominoes.

Maltseva stressed that the problem cannot be ignored, as this could lead to more serious consequences.

“We are not talking about severe cognitive impairment when hospitalization and drug therapy are required. We are talking about patients who were discharged after an illness and who could not immediately notice some unpleasant changes. How are they usually found? The person begins to get annoyed that he starts to do everything too slowly, is often distracted, forgets where he was going or where he left the keys. As a rule, mild disturbances are accompanied by background irritation. If it exists and is associated with forgetfulness, you need to act – after simple training, everything goes away. But don’t wait for it to pass by itself. A person experiences stress due to memory problems, and the higher the stress, the worse it is remembered. It turns out to be a vicious circle, which can eventually end in anxiety disorder, ”concluded the psychologist.

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