If you don’t recognize the faces of these celebrities, you may be suffering from lung covid, experts say.
Researchers at the University of Dartmouth found that persistent prosopagnosia, or face blindness, may be yet another symptom related to the condition.
Their theory is based on the case of a woman named Annie, 28, who contracted Covid in March 2020. Months after she cured the initial infection, she had trouble recognizing her father’s face and said he looked like a “stranger.”
Her case report was only published last week and — because the link had not yet been established — doctors fear cases of the condition are going undiagnosed and not linked to the virus.
Separately, Harvard University has a simple test you can take yourself to help detect face blindness with A-list celebrities, below:
Prosopagnosia, also known as face blindness, is a devastating condition that affects approximately 10 million Americans. One way doctors diagnose it is by testing whether a patient can recognize celebrity faces. The answers are, from left to right: MADONNA, BARACK OBAMA, TOM BRADY, THE ROCK, OPRAH, KENDRICK KANG-JOH JEONG
Face blindness affects up to three percent of people — or up to 10 million, according to Harvardusually due to brain damage, such as after a stroke, head injury, inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), or Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. Joseph DeGutis, a cognitive neuroscience researcher at Harvard, warns that it can damage a person’s relationships with friends and family and hinder their career prospects.
Meanwhile, researchers at Dartmouth documented the first known case of long-term Covid-induced prosopagnosia in the Cortex magazine.
After repeated tests — including one that asked her to recognize celebrity faces — the patient was diagnosed with prosopagnosia. Further study of 54 other people who have long experienced Covid found that the condition is likely a symptom of the disease.
Annie, whose last name and location were not given in the report, was one of the first people to contract the virus.
Researchers say the woman first noticed her symptoms in June of that year.
At a family gathering, she had trouble recognizing her father’s face and could not distinguish him from her uncle.
“It was like my father’s voice came from a stranger’s face,” she told investigators.
The condition has also had other consequences for her life. Annie, a customer service representative, is also an avid artist.
Where before she could only draw faces from memory, now she needs a photo.
In addition, she also had difficulty navigating.
Simple tasks like grocery shopping became challenging and she now has to pin a location on her phone to help her find her car in a parking lot.
However, she had no other cognitive impairment. This signaled to researchers that something else could have been going on.
“The combination of prosopagnosia and navigational disabilities that Annie had is something that caught our attention because the two deficits often go hand-in-hand after someone has or has had developmental disabilities,” said Dr. Brad Duchaine, a psychology and brain sciences researcher at Dartmouth. .
“That co-occurrence is likely due to the two abilities that depend on neighboring brain regions in the temporal lobe.”
The temporal lobe is the second largest in the brain. It sits between a person’s ear, in the lower middle part of the organ.
It is responsible for object recognition, memory storage and recall, language understanding, and emotional response processing.
To test this, researchers subjected Annie to a series of tests. First, she was asked to identify the faces of celebrities.
Out of the sample of 60, Annie knew who 48 of the celebs were. However, when she got an isolated image of their faces, she was able to recognize only 28 percent of that group. They said the average person scores 84 percent on the test.
Annie (red dot) scored well below average on three different facial recognition tests, indicating she had prosopagnosia
When she was given a test that showed a celebrity she already claimed to know and then a similar doppelgänger, she could only identify the famous person 67 percent of the time.
Typically, a person scores 87 percent on these types of tests, the researchers said.
She was then presented with the Cambridge Face Memory Test, an exam developed by the British school in 2006.
For this test, a participant is presented with six faces to remember and then recognize from different angles, under different lighting, and while they are invisible.
A score below 60 signals prosopagnosia, the average score is 80. Annie scored 56.
Despite poor facial recognition scores, Annie performed well on other tests. She scored perfectly on a scene recognition test and did well on a voice recognition test.
To verify these results, researchers collected data from 54 others who suffered from long-term Covid and 32 who were infected but showed no long-term symptoms.
In self-reported research results, the long Covid group previously said they believed their cognitive abilities had declined since contracting the virus.
“One of the challenges many respondents reported was a problem visualizing family and friends, something we often hear from prosopagnosics,” said Dr. Duchaine.
Long Covid is defined by the World Health Organization as the development of new virus-related symptoms three months after the initial Covid infection.
These symptoms can last for months to years, with doctors often wondering what caused them.
The condition encompasses a wide variety of symptoms, such as shortness of breath, brain fog, and fatigue and depression.
However, there are some lingering doubts about the existence of the conditions, with some instead believing that people attribute problems that they would suffer from the condition anyway.