Scientists from the UG Faculty of Social Sciences are carrying out comprehensive studies of memory, smell, and attention in post-COVID-19 patients. The team is trying to establish the long-term effects of COVID-19 on the central nervous system, particularly on the right hemisphere of the brain. The psychologists are currently looking for volunteers to take part in the research.
‘We have been conducting the project for two years now. We want to study more than 200 people from different age groups,’ says project leader, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences prof. dr hab. Michal Harciarek. ‘We are interested in all sorts of effects of COVID-19 on various human cognitive functions, but also, for example, whether these effects are compounded by co-morbidities such as diabetes or hypertension.’
Each examination lasts approximately six hours and can be conducted either during the week or the weekend. Eligible individuals will be assessed twice, with a follow-up examination 12 months after the first evaluation. In addition to the free comprehensive medical testing, those participating will receive financial compensation.
'We perform several biochemical tests, i.e. standard morphological tests extended with, among other things, measurement of antibodies and gasometry or spirometer tests to verify the level of lung function after COVID-19,' says doctoral student Wiktoria Kujawa. - We also carry out EEG tests, i.e. measurement of brain activity, and a multidimensional olfactory test, in which we check the ability to distinguish between odours and olfactory memory.
Some patients have already undergone two testing sessions, but the researchers are still looking for people willing to take part in the tests. Among others, there is currently a shortage of seniors over 65 and people who have never undergone COVID-19. A detailed description of the groups being sought can be found in the information leaflet below.
'What is most important to us is how patients function after undergoing COVID-19 from a neuropsychological perspective, i.e. attention-executive function and memory performance,' explains dr Natalia Treder-Rochna from the Department of General Psychology. ‘As part of our research, we want to answer the questions: Is COVID-19 able to accelerate the ageing of our brain? How does COVID-19 affect the functioning of our central nervous system, cognitive functions such as attention or memory, and smell? And is this a permanent change?’
The research is being conducted as part of a National Science Centre-funded project entitled Does the Sars-Cov2 coronavirus primarily disrupt the functioning of the right cerebral hemisphere and frontal attention system? A prospective study of the neuropsychological and neurophysiological consequences of COVID-19.