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AAN 2022 | COVID-19 and post-acute neurological sequelae

Jennifer Frontera, MD, New York University Grossman School of Medicine, New York, NY, explains a longitudinal study of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 and their post-acute sequelae. The first cohort was hospitalized during the first wave of COVID-19 and followed up at six and 12 months. Functional outcomes were measured using the Modified Rankin Scale, Barthel Index, and patients’ reports on quality of life (e.g., anxiety, depression, fatigue, and sleep). The cohort was split into patients with new neurological disorders in the context of being hospitalized and patients that did not develop neurological complications. After six months, the patients with neurological complications did worse, referring to the listed quantitative ranks, but at 12 months, there was no longer a significant difference compared to those without neurological complications. 90% of patients had abnormal testing on quantitative measures, including 50% with abnormal cognition. Although the magnitude of abnormalities was higher than expected, cognitive scores did improve, and one must remember that these were very ill patients (22% incubated), meaning these results might not apply to individuals who experienced asymptomatic or milder versions of COVID-19. Ultimately, Prof. Frontera thinks the rates of post-acute sequelae can be predicted by severity of illness. This interview took place at the American Academy of Neurology 2022 Congress in Seattle, WA.


NIH funding, WHO Brain Health Taskforce