A Lost Opportunity

I’ve recently been speaking with a friend who fell ill with Covid-19 back in March 2020.

They had a senior clinical position in the A&E department of a busy hospital at the height of the first wave and as a result, their infection was not really any surprise.  Badly affected, they have been off work ever since with debilitating symptoms of Post Covid-19 syndrome.

As well as exhausting fatigue, these symptoms include severe cognitive problems in memory, concentration and decision making.

With a neurological background, they asked me if they could take the full range of cognitive tests from Cambridge Brain Sciences to determine their current cognitive performance.

The outcome gave them some reassurance but here’s the thing.

They expressed disappointment in not knowing how this set of results compared to their performance prior to being ill. They wished they had taken the tests previously to create a benchmark against which they could measure and understand the affect that Covid-19 had on their cognition.

They wished they had a cognitive target as part of their rehabilitation programme, so they could see what progress they were making in restoring their full cognitive faculties. 

What if everyone knew their level of cognitive performance from an early age? It doesn’t change much throughout life on an age adjusted basis unless there is a significant event.  Could be a deterioration through trauma or, as in this case, through illness. Could also be an improvement through lifestyle changes.

If we knew our baseline level and then assessed on a regular basis such as we do with other health measures, we could more easily understand the impact of such events and any efforts to remediate.

Without a benchmark, my friend has lost the opportunity to do any of this.