Research Digest – May 2020

Author: Gabriel Qi

Scientists and practitioners around the globe are getting to know the SARS-CoV-2 more
and more. Thanks to Cecilia Han’s recommendation, I would like to present a study on
the neurological manifestations of hospitalized patients with COVID-19. For the second
article, I introduce a study on tea consumption and cognitive aging, with hopes to
remind you all of good self-care.

The first study was conducted by neurologists in Wuhan, China (Mao et al., 2020). They reviewed data collected among hospitalized COVID-19 patients from January 16 to February 19, 2020. Among the 214 patients, 78 (36.4%) manifest some neurologic symptoms. They categorized the symptoms into central nervous system (CNS) manifestations, peripheral nervous system (PNS) manifestations, and skeletal muscular injury manifestations. Patients with severe COVID-19 presented with more skeletal muscle injuries (p < .001) than their non-severe (mild to moderate) counterparts. In terms of CNS, although the general symptoms (e.g., dizziness, headache) were comparable, there were more acute cases of cerebrovascular disease (p < .05) and impaired consciousness (p < .001) among the severe group. PNS symptoms such as impairment in taste, smell, and vision were prevalent in both groups, and tend to start in early phases of the condition.

On a lighter note, I recommend drinking tea as a self-care strategy for all of you, given
the findings of the second study. Feng, Gwee, Kua, and Ng (2010) found that tea
consumption, regardless of type (black, oolong or green), showed a protective effect for
cognitive functioning. Middle-aged to older adults (age >= 55 years; N = 716) in
Singapore who self-reported a higher amount of tea consumption performed better on
a neuropsychological battery. Total tea consumption was independently associated with
better performances on global cognition (B = 0.055, SE = 0.026, p = .03), memory (B =
0.031, SE = 0.012, p = .01), executive function (B = 0.032, SE = 0.012, p = .009), and
information processing speed (B = 0.04, SE = 0.014, p = .001). The causal effect is not
definitive, but it is probably worth trying. By the way, there was no association between
coffee consumption and cognitive functioning in this sample.

Food for thought this month:

How do neuropsychologists contribute to COVID-19 care, or how have they been doing

Here are the links to access the articles this month:




•Feng, L., Gwee, X. I. N. Y. I., Kua, E. H., & Ng, T. P. (2010). Cognitive function and
tea consumption in community dwelling older Chinese in Singapore. The journal
of nutrition, health & aging, 14, 433-438. doi:10.1007/s12603-010-0095-9
• Mao, L., Jin, H., Wang, M., Hu, Y., Chen, S., He, Q., … & Miao, X. (2020).
Neurologic manifestations of hospitalized patients with coronavirus disease 2019
in Wuhan, China. JAMA neurology. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2020.1127