Article

Cognitive effects of diarrhea, malnutrition, and Entamoeba histolytica infection on school age children in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health, University of Virginia, Charlottesville Virginia, USA.
The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene (Impact Factor: 2.74). 04/2006; 74(3):475-81.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Cognitive function was assessed in 191 Bangladeshi children 6-9 years of age using verbal and nonverbal tests. These scores were added to a health surveillance database that was compiled over the four previous years that includes incidence of diarrhea and Entamoeba histolytica infection and nutritional status. The associations of diarrhea, malnutrition, and social factors with cognitive scores were analyzed statistically, and associations between diarrhea and test scores were controlled for the influence of social factors. Cognitive scores were negatively associated with stunting during school age, as well as the height-for-age and weight-for-age scores at study enrollment. Incidence of diarrhea was associated with nonverbal test scores before, but not after, controlling for socioeconomic factors. Generally E. histolytica infection was not found to independently influence scores, except that E. histolytica-associated dysentery was associated with lower test scores while dysentery of any etiology was not. Thus, malnutrition during the school age years, but not diarrhea or E. histolytica infection, was associated with a lower level of cognitive functioning. This suggested that intervention during school age years may be able to mitigate the cognitive deficiencies associated with malnutrition.

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    • "It is possible that chronic malnutrition is an environmental determinant that leads to reduced educative and reproductive abilities, and therefore, poor performance on the Raven test, among children with heavy A. lumbricoides infections. Another analysis has supported the notion that growth stunting and chronic malnutrition are related to poor performance on Raven tests (Tarleton et al. 2006). The intestinal blood loss caused by adult hookworms is a well-known cause of iron-deficiency anaemia in endemic populations (Crompton & Nesheim 2002). "
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    ABSTRACT: Online document. Incl. bibl.
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