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Memory loss could be a long-term side effect of COVID-19, new study shows

The study used specialized tests to look at different areas of brain function in people who had previously contracted COVID-19.

If you had COVID-19 months ago and still feel like your memory is a little foggy, a new study shows you may not be alone.

The study, which was published Friday in the peer-reviewed medical journal JAMA Network Open, analyzed 740 people who had previously tested positive for COVID-19 and found a "high frequency of cognitive impairment" several months after they contracted the virus.

Scientists used specialized tests to look at different areas of brain function and found the most common deficits were memory encoding and memory recall.

Simply Psychology explains memory encoding as the way information is stored in our brains as memories — by visuals, sounds, or meanings. The organization explains memory recall as the ability to access memories that are already stored in the brain and retrieve the information for use.

The study also found that people who had previously contracted COVID struggled with attention, setting and completing goals and coming up with words based on certain criteria.

These "brain fog" side effects were more common in patients who had been hospitalized. And despite the idea that older patients may be more susceptible to this cognitive impairment, the study found that younger patients also showed signs of "cognitive dysfunction."

According to the CDC, certain symptoms can last for weeks or months after contracting the virus regardless of the severity of the illness.

You can read the CDC's full list of ongoing symptoms here.