Neuro-cognitive impairment following acquired central nervous system infections in childhood: A systematic review

Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust, Londinium, England, United Kingdom
Brain Research Reviews (Impact Factor: 5.93). 10/2003; 43(1):57-69. DOI: 10.1016/S0165-0173(03)00192-9
Source: PubMed


The morbid consequences of central nervous system (CNS) infections are often overlooked in the face of high mortality rates. However, neurological impairments not only affect the child's development and future prospects but also place an economic and social burden on communities and countries that often have few resources to deal with such problems. We conducted a systematic review to investigate the occurrence and pattern of persisting neurological impairment after common CNS infections. A comprehensive search of MEDLINE, EMBASE and PsycINFO databases, supplemented by hand-searches of key journals, resulted in forty-six eligible studies, five of which gave information on the spectrum of developmental domains. Despite the lack of comprehensive, methodologically-sound studies, the results show that postinfectious neurological impairment persists, most commonly in cognition and motor functions. Deficits include more subtle problems, which can be difficult to detect on gross neurological assessment but may still be deleterious to the child's social and educational functioning. Higher morbidity for similar mortality in acute bacterial meningitis compared with cerebral malaria in the epidemiological data may suggest future research directions for clinical research to devise more effective interventions.

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    • "Cerebral malaria accounts for 8.2% of these malaria cases with a mortality of 17% [6]. Despite its low prevalence, cerebral malaria is one of the major causes of neurodevelopmental difficulties [7,8] with several studies documenting cognitive and neurologic deficits in survivors, with 14% to 26% having cognitive deficits [9-11]. There is however little evidence of behavioural problems resulting from cerebral malaria with only one study describing the behavioural problems [12]. "
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    ABSTRACT: No measure of childhood behaviour has been validated in Uganda despite the documented risks to behaviour. Cerebral malaria in children poses a great risk to their behaviour, however behavioural outcomes after cerebral malaria have not been described in children. This study examined the reliability of the Luganda version of the Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL) and described the behavioural outcomes of cerebral malaria in Ugandan children. The CBCL was administered to parents of 64 children aged 7 to 16 years participating in a trial to improve cognitive functioning after cerebral malaria. These children were assigned to the treatment or control group. The CBCL parent ratings were completed for the children at baseline and nine weeks later. The CBCL was translated into Luganda, a local language, prior to its use. Baseline scores were used to calculate internal consistency using Cronbach Alpha. Correlations between the first and second scores of the control group were used to determine test-retest reliability. Multicultural norms for the CBCL were used to identify children with behavioural problems of clinical significance. The test-retest reliability and internal consistency of the Internalising scales were 0.64 and 0.66 respectively; 0.74 and 0.78 for the Externalising scale and 0.67 and 0.83 for Total Problems. Withdrawn/Depressed (15.6%), Thought Problems (12.5%), Aggressive Behaviour (9.4%) and Oppositional Defiant Behaviour (9.4%) were the commonly reported problems. The Luganda version of the CBCL is a fairly reliable measure of behavioural problems in Ugandan children. Depressive and thought problems are likely behavioural outcomes of cerebral malaria in children. Further work in children with psychiatric diagnoses is required to test its validity in a clinical setting.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2009 · Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health
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    ABSTRACT: Multiple, prolonged, generalized, or focal seizures are common in children with severe malaria, with or without coma. In other contexts, such seizures have been associated with the development of epilepsy. The relation between falciparum malaria and epilepsy is undetermined; thus we measured the prevalence and characteristics of epilepsy in children with a history of severe malaria. We took a detailed epilepsy history from the parents of 487 children (aged 6-9 years) to compare the prevalence of epilepsy between three exposure groups: children with a history of cerebral malaria (CM), malaria and complicated seizures (M/S), or those unexposed to either complication. Each child had an EEG and was classified as having active, inactive, or no epilepsy. An increased prevalence of epilepsy was seen in children previously admitted with CM [9.2%; OR, 4.4; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.4-13.7] or M/S (11.5%; OR, 6.1; 95% CI, 2.0-18.3) compared with the unexposed group (2.2%). The most commonly reported seizure types were tonic-clonic (42%), focal becoming secondarily generalized (16%), and both (21%). Twenty-six percent of the active epilepsy group initially had EEG abnormalities. These results suggest that children exposed to CM or M/S have an increased propensity for epilepsy relative to children unexposed to these complications. The prevalence of epilepsy associated with CM is similar to that reported after other severe encephalopathies. The prevalence associated with M/S is more than twice that reported after complicated febrile seizures.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2004 · Epilepsia
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