Assessment of Neurocognitive Functions, Olfaction, Taste, Mental, and Psychosocial Health in COVID-19 in Adults: Recommendations for Harmonization of Research and Implications for Clinical Practice

Lucette A. Cysique*, Emilia Łojek, Theodore Ching-Kong Cheung, Breda Cullen, Anna Rita Egbert, Jonathan Evans, Maite Garolera, Natalia Gawron, Hetta Gouse, Karolina Hansen, Paweł Holas, Sylwia Hyniewska, Ewa Malinowska, Bernice A. Marcopulos, Tricia L. Merkley, Jose A. Muñoz-Moreno, Clare Ramsden, Christian Salas, Sietske A. M. Sikkes, Ana Rita SilvaImane Zouhar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: To propose a set of internationally harmonized procedures and methods for assessing neurocognitive functions, smell, taste, mental, and psychosocial health, and other factors in adults formally diagnosed with COVID-19 (confirmed as SARS-CoV-2 + WHO definition). Methods: We formed an international and cross-disciplinary NeuroCOVID Neuropsychology Taskforce in April 2020. Seven criteria were used to guide the selection of the recommendations' methods and procedures: (i) Relevance to all COVID-19 illness stages and longitudinal study design; (ii) Standard, cross-culturally valid or widely available instruments; (iii) Coverage of both direct and indirect causes of COVID-19-associated neurological and psychiatric symptoms; (iv) Control of factors specifically pertinent to COVID-19 that may affect neuropsychological performance; (v) Flexibility of administration (telehealth, computerized, remote/online, face to face); (vi) Harmonization for facilitating international research; (vii) Ease of translation to clinical practice. Results: The three proposed levels of harmonization include a screening strategy with telehealth option, a medium-size computerized assessment with an online/remote option, and a comprehensive evaluation with flexible administration. The context in which each harmonization level might be used is described. Issues of assessment timelines, guidance for home/remote assessment to support data fidelity and telehealth considerations, cross-cultural adequacy, norms, and impairment definitions are also described. Conclusions: The proposed recommendations provide rationale and methodological guidance for neuropsychological research studies and clinical assessment in adults with COVID-19. We expect that the use of the recommendations will facilitate data harmonization and global research. Research implementing the recommendations will be crucial to determine their acceptability, usability, and validity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the International Neuropsychological Society
Early online date2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021

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