Neurophysiological assessment of speech function in individuals having a history of mild COVID-19

Gulyaev SA, Voronkova YuA, Abramova TA, Kovrazhkina EA
About authors

Federal Center of Brain Research and Neurotechnologies of the Federal Medical Biological Agency, Moscow, Russia

Correspondence should be addressed: Sergey A. Gulyaev
Ostrovitianova, 1, str. 10, Moscow, 117997, Russia; ur.xednay@ssurgres

About paper

Author contribution: Gulyaev SA — data analysis, manuscript writing, editing; Voronkova YuA, Abramova TA — data acquisition; Kovrazhkina EA — editing.

Compliance with ethical standards: the study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Federal Center for Brain and Neurotechnologies of FMBA (protocol № 148-1 dated June 15, 2021). All the subjects took part in the experiment on a voluntary basis with no extra benefit. The experiment was studied by employees of the Federal Center for Brain and Neurotechnologies of FMBA within the limits of scientific work conducted by the institution with no third party funding.

Received: 2022-03-24 Accepted: 2022-05-04 Published online: 2022-05-25

Establishing a link between the objective research data and the thought process is one of the major issues of modern neurophysiology. The study was aimed to find an opportunity to perform objective analysis of the causes of cognitive impairment in individuals having a history of mild novel coronavirus infection by solving the inverse EEG problem. A total of 38 COVID-19 survivors were assessed, who had returned to work. The control group included 33 healthy individuals. EEG was recorded using a 128-channel system with an average reference. The data obtained were subjected to the EEG microstate segmentation and converted using the algorithm for solving the inverse EEG problem implemented in the sLORETA software package. In individuals with no history of COVID-19 being in a state of relaxed wakefulness, the component of rhythmic activity within Brodmann area 47, responsible for perception and realization of music, was found in all classes of EEG microstates (0.01 < p < 0.05; χ2-test). Auditory-speech load was characterized by rhythmic activity within areas 22, 23, 37, 39, 40, 44, 45, and 47. In individuals having a history of novel coronavirus infection being in a state of relaxed wakefulness, rhythmic activity within areas 22, 37, 39, 40 was detected. Under auditory-speech load, there was rhythmic activity within areas 37, 39, and 41 (p < 0.05; χ2-test). Thus, alterations in realization of speech function in the form of the disordered sequence of switching on the main language centers were revealed in COVID-19 survivors.

Keywords: EEG, novel coronavirus infection, inverse problem solution