Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Moderate to heavy infections of Trichuris trichiura affect cognitive function in Jamaican school children

  • C. Nokes (a1), S. M. Grantham-McGregor (a2), A. W. Sawyer (a1), E. S. Cooper (a1), B. A. Robinson (a3) and D. A. P. Bundy (a3)...
Abstract

A double-blind placebo trial was conducted to determine the effect of moderate to high loads of Trichuris trichiura (whipworm) infection on the cognitive functions of 159 school children (age 9–12 years) in Jamaica. Infected children were randomly assigned to Treatment or Placebo groups. A third group of randomly selected uninfected children were assigned to a Control for comparative purposes. The improvement in cognitive function was evaluated using a stepwise multiple linear regression, designed to control for any confounding variables. The expulsion of worms led to a significant improvement in tests of auditory short-term memory (P < 0.02; P < 0.01), and a highly significant improvement in the scanning and retrieval of long-term memory (P < 0.001). After 9 weeks, treated children were no longer significantly different from an uninfected Control group in these three tests of cognitive function. The removal of T. trichiura was more important than Ascaris lumbricoides in determining this improvement. The results suggest that whipworm infection has an adverse effect on certain cognitive functions which is reversible by therapy.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Bowerman B. L. & O'Connell R. T. (1990). Linear Statistical Models: an Applied Approach, 2nd Edn.The Duxbury Advanced Series in Statistics and Decision Sciences: PWS-Kent.
Bundy D. A. P. (1986). Epidemiological aspects of Trichuris and trichuriasis in Caribbean communities. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 80, 706–18.
Bundy D. A. P., Foreman J. D. M. & Golden M. H. N. (1985). Sodium azide preservation of faecal specimens for Kato analysis. Parasitology 90, 463–9.
Bundy D. A. P., Wong M. S. & Horton J. (1990). Control of geohelminths by delivery of targeted chemotherapy through schools. Transactions of the Royal Society of Medicine and Hygiene 84, 115–20.
Clarke N. M. A., Grantham-McGregor S. M. & Powell C. (1991). Nutrition and health predictors of school failure in Jamaican children. Ecology of Food and Nutrition 26, 111.
Cooper E. S. & Bundy D. A. P. (1987). Trichuriasis. In Baillière's Clinical Tropical Medicine and Communicable Diseases, Vol. 2 (ed. Pawlowski Z. S.), pp. 629–43. London: Baillière Tindall Limited.
Cooper E. S., Bundy D. A. P., Macdonald T. T. & Golden M. H. N. (1990). Growth suppression in the Trichuris dysentery syndrome. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 44, 138–47.
De Carneri I. (1968). Indagine elmintologica quantitative nella popolazione scolare di 21 centri rurali della provincia di pavia con riferimenti alla situazione socioeconomica e igienica familiare e al rendimento scolastico. Nuovi Annali d'igiene e Microbiologia 19, 124.
Eysenck M. W. (1986). Arousal, learning and memory. Psychological Bulletin 83, 389404.
Gilman R. H., Chong Y. H., Davis C., Greenberg B., Virik H. K. & Dixon H. B. (1983). The adverse consequences of heavy Trichuris infection. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 77, 432–8.
Grantham-McGregor S. M. (1990). Malnutrition, mental function and development. In The Malnourished Child, Nestlé Nutrition Workshop Series, Vol. 19 (ed. Suskind R. M. & Lewinter-Suskind L.), pp. 197212. New York: Raven Press.
Hall A. (1981). Quantitative variability of nematode egg counts in faeces: a study among rural Kenyans. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 75, 682–7.
Halloran M. E., Bundy D. A. P. & Pollitt E. (1989). Infectious disease and the Unesco basic education initiative. Parasitology Today 5, 359–62.
Holland C. (1987). Neglected infections – trichuriasis and strongyloidiasis. In Impact of Helminth Infections on Human Nutrition (ed. Stephenson L. S.), pp. 161201. London: Taylor & Francis.
Jolliffe J. T. (1986). Principal Components as a small number of interpretable variables: some examples. In Principal Component Analysis, (ed. Jolliffe J. T.), pp. 50–8. Springer Series in Statistics: Berlin: Springer-Verlag.
Jordon P. & Randall K. (1962). Bilharziasis in Tanganyika: observations on its effects and the effects of treatment in school children. Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 65, 17.
Kagan J., Rosman B., Day D., Albert J. & Phillips W. (1964). Information processing in the child: significance of analytic and reflective attitudes. Psychological Monographs 78, 578615.
Kaufman A. (1979). Intelligence Testing with the WISC-R. New York: John Wiley and Sons.
Martin L. K. & Beaver P. C. (1968). Evaluation of Kato Thick Smear Technique for quantitative diagnosis of helminth infections. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 17, 382–91.
Nokes C., Cooper E. S., Robinson B. A. & Bundy D. A. P. (1991). Geohelminth infection and academic assessment in Jamaican children. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 85, 272–3.
Pollitt E. (1990). Malnutrition and Infection in the Classroom. Paris: Unesco Publication.
Raven J. C. (1956). Coloured Progressive Matrices. London: H. K. Lewis & Co.
Semel E. & Wiig E. (1980). Clinical Evaluation of Language Functions. Columbus, OH: Charles Merrill.
Simeon D. T. & Grantham-McGregor S. M. (1989). Effects of missing breakfast of the cognitive functions of school children on differing nutritional status. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 49, 646–53.
Soewondo S., Husaini M. & Pollitt E. (1989). Effects of iron deficiency on attention and learning processes in preschool children: Bandung, Indonesia. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 50 (Suppl.), S667–S673.
Stephenson L. S., Latham M. C. & Oduori M. L. (1980). Costs, prevalence and approaches for control of Ascaris infection in Kenya. Journal of Tropical Paediatrics 26, 246–62.
Stiles C. W. (1915). The school grades attained by 2166 white school children (1062 boys, 1104 girls) in the city of X, classified by age, sanitation and intestinal parasites. U.S. Public Health System Report, No. 121.
Strong K. K. (1916). Effects of Hookworm Disease in the Mental and Physical Development of Children. International Health Commission, Publication No. 3. New York: The Rockefeller Foundation.
United States Department Of Health Education and Welfare Public Health Services, Health Resources Administration(1976). NCHS Growth Charts. Rockville, MD: Health Resources Administration.
Waite J. H. & Neilson L. (1919). A study of the effects of hookworm infection upon the mental development of North Queensland school children. The Medical Journal of Australia 1, 117.
Walker A. R. P., Walker B. F. & Richardson B. D. (1970). Studies on schistosomiasis in a South African Bantu schoolchild population. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 19, 792814.
Wechsler D. (1974). Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children – Revised. New York: The Psychological Corporation.
World Health Organization (1987). Prevention and control of intestinal parasitic infections. World Health Organization Technical Report Series, No. 749. Geneva: WHO.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Parasitology
  • ISSN: 0031-1820
  • EISSN: 1469-8161
  • URL: /core/journals/parasitology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 27 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 426 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 21st October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.