Cognition before and after COVID-19 Disease in Older Adults: An Exploratory Study

Richard J. Caselli, Yinghua Chen, Kewei Chen, Robert J. Bauer, Dona E.C. Locke, Bryan K. Woodruff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Older age is a major risk factor for severe COVID-19 disease which has been associated with a variety of neurologic complications, both acutely and chronically. Objective: We sought to determine whether milder COVID-19 disease in older vulnerable individuals is also associated with cognitive and behavioral sequelae. Methods: Neuropsychological, behavioral, and clinical outcomes before and after contracting COVID-19 disease, were compared in members of two ongoing longitudinal studies, the Arizona APOE Cohort and the national Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (ADRC). Results: 152 APOE and 852 ADRC cohort members, mean age overall roughly 70 years, responded to a survey that indicated 21 APOE and 57 ADRC members had contracted COVID-19 before their ensuing (post-COVID) study visit. The mean interval between test sessions that preceded and followed COVID was 2.2 years and 1.2 years respectively for the APOE and ADRC cohorts. The magnitude of change between the pre and post COVID test sessions did not differ on any neuropsychological measure in either cohort. There was, however, a greater increase in informant (but not self) reported cognitive change in the APOE cohort (p=0.018), but this became nonsignificant after correcting for multiple comparisons. Conclusion: Overall members of both cohorts recovered well despite their greater age-related vulnerability to more severe disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1049-1058
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2023


  • APOE
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • COVID-19
  • cognitive aging
  • mild cognitive impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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