(HealthDay News) Memory problems are a common part of the post-acute sequelae of COVID-19, according to a research letter published online July 29 in JAMA Network Open.

Arne Søraas, Ph.D., from Oslo University Hospital in Norway, and colleagues followed a cohort of 13,001 adults that included individuals who were tested for suspected COVID-19 between Feb. 1 and April 15, 2020, and untested individuals who were randomly selected from the general population. For those testing positive for COVID-19 who were included in the survey, the infection was relatively mild, and none were hospitalized. The survey participants completed electronic questionnaires at baseline and at eight-month follow-up that asked about memory problems and health-related quality of life.

The researchers found that 11% in the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-positive group reported memory problems at eight months versus 4 percent in the SARS-CoV-2-negative group and 2% in an untested, randomly selected group of participants. There was a strong association observed between SARS-CoV-2 positivity at baseline and memory problems at eight months (odds ratio [OR], 4.66) compared with the untested, randomly selected group. Among the SARS-CoV-2-positive group, 41% reported a significant worsening of health at follow-up versus one year prior, and 12% reported problems concentrating. Of those reporting memory problems in the SARS-CoV-2-positive group, 82% also reported worsening of health.

“The findings are a strong impetus to reconsider the notion that COVID-19 can be a mild disease,” the authors write. “It also questions whether the current home-treatment strategies are optimal for the long-term outcome.”

Two authors disclosed financial ties to Age Labs.

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