Westchester Medical Center study finds COVID long-haulers suffer memory, cognitive issues

A study conducted in the Hudson Valley is shedding light on patients with long COVID who suffer cognitive issues.
Middletown seventh grader Connor Dellaporte says he wasn’t too affected when he got COVID-19 in November. However, the 12-year-old says a big impact from the virus came months later as he started to have a hard time concentrating.
“It’s just really harder to focus when I'm trying to do an assignment,” Dellaporte says. 
Mother Rachel Whittemore says her son is experiencing long COVID, or a lingering symptom from catching the virus. 
"It's a little frightening because we don't know what the effects are,” Whittlemore says. 
A newly published study conducted at Westchester Medical Center gives insight to the cognitive effects of long COVID six to eight months after contracting the virus.
"We felt it was important to document and validate that what these people are complaining about are real problems,” says Dr. Stephen Ferrando, the study’s lead author. 
In the study, 60 adults were tested. The results show low neuropsychological performance.
“Attention and concentration, slow thinking…they don't process information as quickly. Memory problems, particularly longer-term memory,” Ferrando says. 
The study found that those with extremely low cognitive performance also had worse symptoms when they had COVID-19.
The research shows that there are signs that some of these issues do improve with time and treatment.
Phase two of the study is underway and involves studying the impacts of long COVID-19 among those who contracted the Omicron strain.
To participate, individuals must have a documented positive COVID-19 test after Dec. 21, 2021, an eighth grade level of education, be fluent in English language and over the age of 20 years old.
If you would like to participate, call 914-216-7733 ext. 2 or email Dr. Ferrando at Stephen.Ferrando@WMCHealth.org.