ABSTRACT: Persisting neurological and cognitive impairments are common after cerebral malaria. Although risk factors for gross deficits on discharge have been described, few studies have examined those associated with persistent impairments.
The risk factors for impairments following cerebral malaria were determined by examining hospital records of 143 children aged 6-9 years, previously admitted with cerebral malaria, who were assessed at least 20 months after discharge to detect motor, speech and language, and other cognitive (memory, attention, and non-verbal functioning) impairments.
The median age on admission was 30 months (IQR 19-42) and the median time from discharge to assessment was 64 months (IQR 40-78). Thirty four children (23.8%) were defined as having impairments: 14 (9.8%) in motor, 16 (11.2%) in speech and language, and 20 (14.0%) in other cognitive functions. Previous seizures (OR 5.6, 95% CI 2.0 to 16.0), deep coma on admission (OR 28.8, 95% CI 3.0 to 280), focal neurological signs observed during admission (OR 4.6, 95% CI 1.1 to 19.6), and neurological deficits on discharge (OR 4.5, 95% CI 1.4 to 13.8) were independently associated with persisting impairments. In addition, multiple seizures were associated with motor impairment, age <3 years, severe malnutrition, features of intracranial hypertension, and hypoglycaemia with language impairments, while prolonged coma, severe malnutrition, and hypoglycaemia were associated with impairments in other cognitive functions.
Risk factors for persisting neurological and cognitive impairments following cerebral malaria include multiple seizures, deep/prolonged coma, hypoglycaemia, and clinical features of intracranial hypertension. Although there are overlaps in impaired functions and risk factors, the differences in risk factors for specific functions may suggest separate mechanisms for neuronal damage. These factors could form the basis of future preventive strategies for persisting impairments.
Archives of Disease in Childhood 02/2006; 91(2):142-8. · 2.88 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: There is little information on the characteristics of persisting impairments associated with severe forms of falciparum malaria. Previous work has suggested the existence of a group of children with particularly poor performance on neurocognitive assessments in the context of average group performance. The aim of this study was to provide a detailed characterisation of impairments in this subgroup.
Three groups of children were recruited: children admitted up to nine years earlier with cerebral malaria (CM) (n = 152), malaria and complicated seizures (M/S) (n = 156), or those unexposed to either condition (n = 179). Each child underwent a series of developmental assessments. Standard definitions were used to classify impairment.
Twenty-four percent of the CM and M/S groups had at least one impairment in the major domains assessed in the study, compared with 10% of the unexposed group. CM was associated with a higher proportion of multiple impairments and an increased risk of mortality in the first year after recovery in those identified with impairments on discharge.
After severe malaria, some children have neurocognitive impairments that are evident as long as nine years later. Impairments may become more evident as children progress and face more complex cognitive and linguistic demands, socially and educationally. The child's neurological status at discharge was not a good predictor of later neurocognitive impairment. This highlights the importance of follow up for children with severe malaria and the involvement of therapists and educators in the provision of services for this population.
Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry 05/2005; 76(4):476-81. · 4.76 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: To conduct a preliminary investigation into the occurrence of speech and language impairments following severe malaria in Kenyan children.
Cohort study comparing the prevalence of impairments in children exposed or unexposed to severe malaria.
The study recruited 25 children who had previously been admitted to hospital with severe falciparum malaria and 27 unexposed to the disease. Assessments of comprehension, syntax, lexical semantics, higher level language abilities, pragmatics and phonology were administered to each child at 8-9 years of age, at least 2 years after admission to hospital in children exposed to severe malaria.
Exposed children were found to have lower scores on each assessment and significantly lower scores on four aspects of language ability: comprehension (p = 0.02); syntax (p = 0.02); content words (p = 0.02) and function words (p = 0.004) components of lexical semantics.
These data suggest that speech and language deficits may be an important and under-recognized sequela of severe falciparum malaria.
Brain Injury 04/2003; 17(3):217-24. · 1.36 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: The cause of seizures in children with falciparum malaria is unclear. In malaria endemic areas, children who develop severe falciparum malaria with seizures may have a genetically higher risk of epilepsy or febrile seizures. We used the history of seizures in relatives of children previously admitted with malaria to determine if there is evidence for a familial predisposition of seizures in children admitted with malaria and seizures or cerebral malaria.
Family history of seizures were obtained from the parents/guardians of 81 children (35 children previously admitted with severe malaria and 46 children matched for age who had not been admitted with severe malaria). Data were collected on frequency, duration, age of onset, presence of fever and causes of seizures.
The prevalence of seizures in the relatives of children not admitted with severe malaria was 4.3%, of whom 2.2% had a history of seizures compatible with febrile seizures, and 1.1% with epilepsy. Overall the odds ratio (OR) for relations of children admitted with malaria, to have a seizure disorder was 1.41 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.06-1.88]. There was a significant risk of the relatives dying if they had epilepsy [relative risk 1.88 (95% CI 1.11-3.19)], but not for other seizure disorders (i.e. febrile, single or unclassifiable seizures).
Relatives of children admitted with severe falciparum malaria are more likely to have a seizure disorder compared with controls, but it is unclear if this is because of a genetic propensity or caused by exogenous factors such as malaria.
Tropical Medicine & International Health 02/2003; 8(1):12-6. · 2.80 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: The 'Ten Questions' Questionnaire (TQQ) is used to detect severe neurological impairment in children living in resource-poor countries. Its usefulness has been established in Asia and the Caribbean, but there are a few published studies from Africa. We evaluated the TQQ as part of a larger study of neurological impairment in a rural community, on the coast of Kenya.
The study was conducted in two phases from June 2001 to May 2002; in phase one, a community household screening of 10,218 children aged 6-9 years using the TQQ was performed. Phase two involved a comprehensive clinical and psychological assessment of all children testing positive on the TQQ (n = 810) and an equivalent number of those testing negative (n = 766). Data were interpreted using the impairment-specific approach.
Overall, the sensitivity rates for screening the different impairments were: cognitive (70.0%), motor (71.4%), epilepsy (100%), hearing (87.4%) and visual (77.8%). All the specificity rates were greater than 96%. However, the positive predictive values were low, and ranged from 11 to 33%.
These results are similar to those from other continents and provide evidence that the TQQ can be used to compare the epidemiology of moderate/severe impairment in different parts of the world. Furthermore, the TQQ can be used to screen for moderately/severely impaired children in resource-poor countries; however, the low positive predictive values mean that other assessments are required for confirmation.
Neuroepidemiology 23(1-2):67-72. · 2.31 Impact Factor