Theophilus LazarusEmory University, South Africa & United States of America
Title: Neuropsychological outcomes in covid-19
The 2019-2020 COVID-19 pandemic is reported to have significant neurological and neuropsychological effects on selected patients, now impacting the working population worldwide. The etiological significance of neurocognitive and emotional functioning deficits are unclear, but appear to be intertwined. A case study of an adult female patient with functional seizure disorder emerging two years after a history of COVID-19 with early symptoms of delirium, anosmia and SpO2 reaching <88% is reported. ICU treatment included mechanical ventilation and intubation. One year post-discharge, complaints of mental fatigue and confusion, and memory difficulties, as well as seizures that met the criteria for Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Type (PNES) were reported based on symptom characteristics and a negative video EEG. Neuropsychological findings revealed moderate Stroop Effect (P<0.05), inconsistent working memory (Serial Sevens and Digits Backward, approaching p<.05) and processing speed (p<0.05) deficits, but average immediate and delayed memory (P>0.05) functions in both verbal and visual modalities. Significant PTSD (CAPS-5 DSM-V PTSD Scale) associated with near-death experiences and Moderate Depression (Zung Depression Score 72) were found. Recommendations for further case reports with PNES, the impact of extended multi-modal treatment, serial neuropsychological assessment and monitoring before return to work or disability are made.
Theophilus Lazarus completed his PhD at UNISA in South Africa and a Post-doctoral Fellowship in Clinical and Forensic Neuropsychology at University of North Carolina at Wilmington, USA. His doctoral dissertation was on the Neuropsychological Effects of Transient Ischaemic Attacks (TIAs). He has taught undergraduate and graduate programs in neuroscience over forty years, and supervised over 40 graduate theses and dissertations for the same period of time. He practised and conducted research in Neuropsychology for almost 40 years in USA and internationally. His recent publication is on Cognitive Neuroscience of Neuroinfectious Diseases which is expanded into a larger international project following a larger group of ‘long-hauler’ of COVID-19 survivors.