Older people who have anxiety or depression were found to have an average decline in their short-term memory equivalent to six years of natural ageing during the first year of the pandemic, a new study suggests.

Researchers from the University of Exeter and King’s College London used data collected from the Protect online study over the last five years and looked at the impact of the pandemic’s peak in 2020 for 6,300 people aged 50 and over.

They found that participants in this age group who reported an increase in anxiety and depression also scored lower on cognitive tasks designed to measure short-term memory and attention.

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