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Effects of Maternal Worm Infections and Anthelminthic Treatment during Pregnancy on Infant Motor and Neurocognitive Functioning

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date11/2012
JournalJournal of the International Neuropsychological Society : JINS
Journal number6
Volume18
Number of pages12
Pages1019-1030
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

We tested the hypothesis that maternal worm infections in pregnancy affect infant motor and neurocognitive development, and that anthelminthic treatment during pregnancy can reverse these effects. We used measures which examine infant motor, cognitive and executive function, including inhibition. We assessed 983 Ugandan infants aged 15 months, using locally appropriate measures within the Entebbe Mother and Baby Study, a trial of anthelminthic treatment during pregnancy. Key exposures were maternal worm infections and anthelminthic treatment during pregnancy. Effects of other health and social factors were controlled for statistically. Of the five major worm species found in the pregnant women, two had influences on the developmental measures: Maternal Mansonella perstans and Strongyloides stercoralis infections showed negative associations with the A-not B-task, and Language, respectively. Performance on other psychomotor and cognitive measures was associated with illnesses during infancy and infants' behavior during assessment, but not with maternal worm infections. There were no positive effects of maternal anthelminthic treatment on infant abilities. Mansonella perstans and Strongyloides stercoralis infection during pregnancy seem associated with impaired early executive function and language, respectively, but single-dose anthelminthic treatment during pregnancy was not beneficial. The biological mechanisms that could underlie these neurocognitive effects are discussed. (JINS, 2012, 18, 1019-1030).

Bibliographic note

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=INS The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 18, (6) pp 1019-1030 2012, © 2012 Cambridge University Press.