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‘Face blindness’ — the latest symptom of ‘long COVID,’ according to new research

Researchers at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire have reported what they claim is the first instance of prosopagnosia, also known as “face blindness,” in relation to COVID-19 infection, according to Fox News.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke defines prosopagnosia as “a neurological disorder characterized by the inability to recognize faces.”

The study, published in the journal Cortex, is supported by survey responses from people alleged to have “long COVID.” A majority of the 54 responders reported having problems with visual recognition and navigation abilities.

Focusing on a 28-year-old woman named Annie who allegedly contracted COVID in March 2020, researchers say that she had no issue with recognizing faces before contracting the virus, but two months after infection struggled to identify immediate family members.

It is important to note however, that Annie was not tested for COVID-19, allegedly due to a lack of test availability. Instead, she was reportedly diagnosed by her primary care provider. As well, Annie did not get an MRI scan of her brain, reportedly due to insurance limitations, leaving open the possibility that she is afflicted with a different illness.

“When I first met Annie, she told me that she was unable to recognize the faces of her family,” said the study’s lead author, Marie-luise Kieseler, a graduate student in the psychological and brain sciences department at Dartmouth.

Saying she was able to recognize people only by voice, Annie claimed that she was unable to notice her father walking passed her in a restaurant, as if her “dad’s voice came out of a stranger’s face.”

However, during tests, Annie could identify objects and scenes.

Navigational abilities were also reported, with Annie struggling to find her way around a grocery store or remember where she parked her car.

“The combination of prosopagnosia and navigational deficits that Annie had is something that caught our attention because the two deficits often go hand in hand after somebody either has had brain damage or developmental deficits,” said senior author of the study Brad Duchaine.

“Our study highlights the sorts of perceptual problems with face recognition and navigation that can be caused by Covid-19 — it`s something that people should be aware of, especially physicians and other healthcare professionals,” Duchaine added.

A study released just a couple weeks prior claimed that “long COVID” could be the source of chest pains that last upwards of a year after contracting the virus.

The study did not appear to control for vaccination status and did not mention vaccines in its report.

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