Long Covid Infection Can Give Rise To ‘Face Blindness’: Study

According to a study, prolonged symptoms of CoVID-19 may be associated with difficulty recognizing faces, a little-known condition called face blindness, and problems with navigation. Previous studies have shown that Covid-19 can cause a range of neurological problems, including loss of smell and taste, and impairments in attention, memory, speech and language, known as “brain fog”.

The latest research, published in the journal Cortex, is the first to report prosopagnosia, or face blindness, following symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

The condition, which can make people unable to recognize familiar faces, is estimated to affect between 2 and 2.5 percent of people worldwide.

Researchers examined the case of Annie, a 28-year-old customer service representative and part-time portrait artist in the US, who was diagnosed with Covid-19 in March 2020 and experienced a recurrence of symptoms two months later.

“When I first met Annie, she told me she couldn’t recognize the faces of her family,” said Mary Louise Kiesler, a graduate student at Dartmouth College in the US. Annie now relies on voices to recognize people. she does.

Annie also suffered a naval loss after contracting Covid-19. She has trouble remembering where certain sections of her grocery store are and relies on Google Maps and its pin function to remember where she parks her car.

“Annie’s combination of prosopagnosia and navigational deficits is something that caught our attention because the two deficits often go hand-in-hand when one’s brain is used,” said study senior author Brad Duchaine, a professor at Dartmouth. damage or developmental deficits”.

“This synergy is likely due to two potentials dependent on neighboring brain regions in the temporal lobe,” Duchene said in a statement.

Dr Vineet Suri, senior consultant, neurology, Indraprasth Apollo Hospital, New Delhi, notes that the exact mechanisms by which prolonged covid can cause facial blindness are still not fully understood. is, but there are several possible explanations.

“First, prolonged covid can cause a range of neurological symptoms that can affect the brain regions responsible for face recognition, making it difficult to process visual information and recognize familiar faces,” Suri told PTI. Difficulty recognizing faces,” Suri told PTI.

“Secondly, Covid-19 can cause inflammation and damage to blood vessels, which can lead to reduced blood flow to the brain. This can damage the brain and cause cognitive impairments, including Face blindness.”

The research team conducted several tests with Annie to assess her problems with face recognition and to determine if she also had difficulties with other perceptual or cognitive abilities.

In one test, Annie was presented with 60 pictures of famous faces in sequence and asked to name them. Annie correctly identified 29 percent of the 48 celebrities she was familiar with, compared to most people, who could correctly identify 84 percent of familiar celebrities.

The second test was the doppelganger test. Annie was shown the name of a famous person and then presented with pictures of two faces: the face of a famous person and a look-alike, and then asked to identify which face was the famous person.

He identified the celebrity in 69 percent of 58 trials, compared to 87 percent in the control group.

“Our test results with unfamiliar faces showed that not only could Annie not remember the name or biographical information of a famous person she was familiar with, but that she actually had difficulty learning new identities. ” Keisler said.

The research team also obtained self-reported data from 54 people who had long-term COVID with symptoms for 12 weeks or more, and 32 people who reported that they were completely cured of COVID-19. They have been discovered.

Most respondents with long-term COVID reported that their cognitive and cognitive abilities had declined since they had COVID.

“It wasn’t just a small concentration of really disabled cases, but a large majority of people in the prolonged COVID group reported significant difficulties doing the things they could do without having contracted COVID-19,” Kiesler said. were able to before.”

“Our study highlights a variety of perceptual problems with face recognition and navigation that can be caused by COVID-19 – something people should be aware of, especially doctors and other health professionals. caring professionals,” Duchaine added.

Dr. Atul Prasad, Principal Director and HOD Neurology, BLK-Max Super Specialty Hospital, New Delhi, said that this is the first report of Covid-19 causing prosopagnosia in a long time.

“The more we study the virus, the more we realize how much damage it can do during acute infection and now after the infection is over,” Prasad told PTI.

Suri noted that not all people with prolonged Covid will develop facial blindness, and the severity and duration of symptoms can vary widely.

“Further research is needed to better understand the relationship between prolonged covid and facial blindness and to develop effective treatments and interventions for those affected,” he added.

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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published by the syndicated news agency Feed)

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