Greater executive dysfunction in patients post-COVID-19 compared to those not infected

Jacqueline H. Becker, Jenny J. Lin, Akosua Twumasi, Ruchir Goswami, Fernando Carnavali, Kimberly Stone, Monica Rivera-Mindt, Minal S. Kale, Georges Naasan, Joanne R. Festa, Juan P. Wisnivesky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: A number of patients post-coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) report cognitive impairment (CI), even months after acute infection. We aimed to assess if COVID-19 is associated with increased incidence of CI in comparison to controls. Methods: We analyzed data from the Mount Sinai Health System Post-COVID-19 Registry in New York City, a prospective cohort of patients post-COVID-19 ≥18 years of age and non-infected controls. CI was defined by scores ≥ 1.0 standard deviation below population norms, and was assessed using well-validated measures of attention, working memory, processing speed, executive functioning/cognitive flexibility, language, learning, and memory. Logistic regression models assessed odds for CI in each domain in patients post-COVID-19 vs. controls after adjusting for potential confounders. In exploratory analyses, we assessed odds for CI by site of acute COVID-19 care as a proxy for disease severity. Findings: 417 patients post-COVID-19 and 151 controls (mean age 49 years, 63% female, 21% Black, 17% Latinx) were included. In adjusted analyses, patients were significantly more likely than controls to have CI in executive functioning (odds ratio [OR]: 2.19; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.03 to 4.67), particularly those treated in outpatient (OR: 2.22; 95% CI: 1.02 to 4.82) and inpatient hospital (OR: 3.59; 95% CI: 1.27 to 10.16) settings. There were no significant associations between CI in other domains and history of COVID-19 or site of acute care. Interpretation: Patients post-COVID-19 have greater odds of executive dysfunction, suggesting that focused cognitive screening may be prudent, even in those with mild to moderate disease. Studies should explore the pathophysiology and potential treatments for CI in this population. Funding: This work was funded by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-117
Number of pages7
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
StatePublished - Nov 2023


  • COVID-19
  • Cognitive impairment
  • post-acute sequelae of COVID-19


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