Central and peripheral nervous system involvement during acute COVID-19 is well known. Although many patients report some subjective symptoms months after the infection, the exact incidence of neurological and cognitive sequelae of COVID-19 remains to be determined. The aim of this study is to investigate if objective neurological or cognitive impairment is detectable four months after SARS-CoV-2 infection, in a group of patients who had mild-moderate COVID-19. A cohort of 120 health care workers previously affected by COVID-19 was examined 4 months after the diagnosis by means of neurological and extensive cognitive evaluation and compared to a group of 30 health care workers who did not have COVID-19 and were similar for age and co morbidities. At 4 month follow-up, 118/120 COVID-19 cases had normal neurological examination, two patients had neurological deficits. COVID-19 patients did not show general cognitive impairment at MMSE. In COVID-19 cases the number of impaired neuropsychological tests was not significantly different from non COVID-19 cases (mean 1.69 and 1 respectively, Mann-Whitney p = n.s.), as well as all the mean tests' scores. Anxiety, stress and depression scores resulted to be significantly higher in COVID-19 than in non COVID-19 cases. The results do not support the presence of neurological deficits or cognitive impairment in this selected population of mild-moderate COVID-19 patients four months after the diagnosis. Severe emotional disorders in patients who had COVID-19 in the past are confirmed.
Flavia Mattioli, Chiara Stampatori, Francesca Righetti, Emma Sala, Cesare Tomasi, Giuseppe De Palma