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Rare case of face blindness following COVID-19 infection reported
USA: Results from a case study of a 28-year-old woman named Annie indicate that COVID-19 can produce severe and selective neuropsychological impairment like deficits following brain damage. It appears that high-level visual impairments are common in people with long COVID.Long COVID, or post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC), is characterized by several symptoms that resurface,...
USA: Results from a case study of a 28-year-old woman named Annie indicate that COVID-19 can produce severe and selective neuropsychological impairment like deficits following brain damage. It appears that high-level visual impairments are common in people with long COVID.
Long COVID, or post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC), is characterized by several symptoms that resurface, begin, or persist even after 12 weeks of the initial COVID-19 infection. These symptoms include psychological problems comprising long-lasting memory, loss of smell and taste, psychosis, and language impairments that substantially impair everyday functioning. However, no persisting and selective visual perception deficits have been reported.
Marie-Luise Kieseler and Brad Duchaine from Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH, USA, and colleagues, in their study published in the journal Cortex, provide the first report of prosopagnosia after symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
In their study, the investigators reported that COVID-19 could sometimes cause severe selective impairments like prosopagnosia and well-known broad impairments. Survey data collected from individuals with PASC/long COVID also demonstrated that cognitive and perceptual deficits following COVID-19 were present in a substantial proportion of the respondents, though none report having acquired prosopagnosia.
Acquired prosopagnosia results from damage to the occipitotemporal face-processing network and frequently co-occurs with deficits that impact navigation, colour perception, and object recognition.
The case described in the study is of a 28-year-old woman, Annie, who contracted COVID-19 in March 2020, before which she had normal face recognition. After two months, she noticed difficulties in face recognition with symptom relapses, and her deficits with faces have persisted. Annie showed evident impairments on two tests of familiar face recognition and two tests of unfamiliar face recognition. However, her scores on tests assessing face detection, object recognition, non-visual memory, and scene recognition were normal.
There is a frequent co-occurrence of navigational deficits with prosopagnosia, and Annie reported that her navigational abilities are substantially worse than before she became ill. Self-report survey data from 54 respondents with long COVID revealed that most reported reduced navigation abilities and visual recognition.
"Our findings suggest that a substantial number of people with PASC/long COVID experiencing selective visual deficits and show that future work should aim to understand the nature of these deficits and whether intervention can be developed to lessen their impact," the researchers wrote.
To conclude, Annie's results suggest that COVID-19 can produce severe and selective neuropsychological impairment like deficits following brain damage. High-level visual impairments appear not uncommon in people with long COVID.
Kieseler, M., & Duchaine, B. (2023). Persistent prosopagnosia following COVID-19. Cortex. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2023.01.012
Medha Baranwal joined Medical Dialogues as an Editor in 2018 for Speciality Medical Dialogues. She covers several medical specialties including Cardiac Sciences, Dentistry, Diabetes and Endo, Diagnostics, ENT, Gastroenterology, Neurosciences, and Radiology. She has completed her Bachelors in Biomedical Sciences from DU and then pursued Masters in Biotechnology from Amity University. She has a working experience of 5 years in the field of medical research writing, scientific writing, content writing, and content management. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact no. 011-43720751