Rare Case of Face Blindness Linked to Long-Term COVID: Study

A new case report indicates that “face blindness” or the inability to recognize faces may be a rare symptom of long-term Covid virus, according to what was published by the “Live Science” website, quoting the “Cortex” journal.

Possible connection

A recent case report suggests a possible link between long-term COVID-19 and selective face recognition problems, but at present it remains unclear whether non-subjects developed the condition after an episode of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Portrait artist

Annie, the subject of the case report, developed symptoms consistent with COVID-19 in March 2020. In June of the same year, when she met her family for the first time since the onset of her illness, she could not recognize her father’s face. As a part-time portrait artist, Annie also notices that she can no longer keep faces in her mind, having to constantly rely on reference images for her painting, instead of checking them several times every several hours, as she used to do.

3% of the world’s population

Face blindness, or the inability to recognize faces, is a condition that an estimated 3% of the world’s population is born with, and affects about 1 in 30,000 as a result of damage to areas of the brain dedicated to processing faces, such as the fusiform gyrus. In Annie’s case, she appears to have become face-blind after contracting COVID-19. Annie also reported difficulties navigating familiar places, such as her local grocery store.

Infectious diseases

This is not the first time that an infectious disease has been linked to acquired face blindness. Cases have been reported after bacterial meningitis causing encephalomyelitis and Whipple’s disease, another bacterial infection that can affect the nervous system, although such cases appear to be rare.

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Another case of a person who developed face blindness after infection with COVID-19 was reported in a 2021 study published in the journal Acta Neuropsychologia, but he also suffered a right hemisphere stroke, which is commonly associated with acquired prosopagnosia.

Face ID memory tests

John Toller, a psychology lecturer at Swansea University in the UK who was not involved in the discussion and treatment of Annie’s case, said there was “no known cause for most”. [المصابين بعمى الوجوة]”.

Researchers at Dartmouth College in the US conducted evaluations to better understand Annie’s face recognition problems. The examinations included four tests of facial identity memory to measure the ability to recognize and remember the faces of celebrities and new random faces. Compared to a control group of 10 women of Annie’s age, she performed significantly worse on all four tests.

Other symptoms

Annie also showed other symptoms of long-term COVID, including fatigue and brain fog. However, it is unlikely that the symptoms of the inability to recognize faces are due to a general deterioration in cognitive function. Its weakness appears to be very specific to facial recognition; Additional testing showed that their ability to detect faces, perceive facial identity, recognize objects and scenes (such as homes and landscapes), and retain unseen memories were spared.

Severely specific selective insufficiency

“It’s not necessarily surprising that a disease with such a profound impact on the brain would lead to disabilities,” said Marie-Louise Kessler, lead researcher on the case study from Dartmouth College. “What’s really interesting is that it’s a selective and highly specific impairment.”

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Even in mild cases, COVID-19 has been linked to structural changes in the brain. Research to date also indicates that brain structures such as the limbic and olfactory cortices are most affected by the coronavirus.

Long term covid

It is unclear exactly how COVID-19 may have contributed to Annie’s sudden face blindness, which raises the question of whether other people who have been infected with COVID for a long time might be affected by similar symptoms.

So, the researchers at Dartmouth collected self-reported data from long-time Covid patients. The majority of patients reported decreased overall visual recognition, not specifically related to faces, as well as their mobility abilities from the onset of their disease.

Since the pandemic, neither Kessler nor Towler have noticed an increase in people with symptoms of face blindness. In future research projects, including brain imaging studies, the team of researchers plans to work with more people who have developed problems processing faces after contracting COVID-19 to better understand the relationship between the infection and face blindness.

training program

Although treatment for face blindness is limited, it is possible that this will change and new methods will be developed. Researcher Judy Davies-Thompson, Lecturer in Psychology at Swansea University, one of the largest universities in Wales, is developing a training program to improve facial recognition in both developmental and acquired faceblindness. Toller said improvements were seen in specific interpersonal face recognition tasks in the training program, but more development is needed to ensure these improvements translate into real-world scenarios.

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2023-05-30 08:33:41

#Facial #blindness.. #rare #symptom #Corona

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