The long-term consequences for those individuals who contract and survive the COVID-19 virus may not be known for some time. But thanks to the work of scientists and physician-researchers, a picture of those outcomes is emerging. One notable example is how COVID-19 can cause long-term neurological changes associated with cognitive impairment.
A series of FDG-PET images documenting those consequences from the virus was recognized with the Image of the Year honors at this week's Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) meeting. The abstract for this study was published in the May 2021 issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine. It is becoming clear that neurocognitive long-term consequences occur not only in severe COVID-19 cases but also in mild and moderate cases as well, according to researchers from University Medical Center Freiburg in Germany.
Fortunately, significant recovery of cognition occurs for most COVID-19 patients. But the study demonstrated that cognitive deficits are still measurable in some patients six months after they first experience symptoms of the disease. SNMMI's scientific program chair who presented the Image of the Year award noted that this study is evidence that FDG-PET may aid the diagnostic workup and follow-up for patients with persistent cognitive impairment after COVID-19.
We can be grateful for such scientific studies that will help us understand the potential outcome of contracting this virus and variants that may come.