Measuring the Effect of Soil-Transmitted Helminth Infections on Cognitive Function in Children: Systematic Review and Critical Appraisal of Evidence.


Owada, K; Nielsen, M; Lau, CL; Clements, ACA; Yakob, L; Soares Magalhães, RJ; (2017) Measuring the Effect of Soil-Transmitted Helminth Infections on Cognitive Function in Children: Systematic Review and Critical Appraisal of Evidence. Adv Parasitol, 98. pp. 1-37. ISSN 2163-6079 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/bs.apar.2017.05.002

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Abstract

Recently the role of soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections in children's cognitive developmental impairment has been under scrutiny. We conducted a systematic review of the evidence for associations between STH infections and cognitive function of children using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses protocol. We aimed to identify the domains of cognitive function in three age strata (<24months, 24-59months and ≥60months) and critically appraise the general design protocol of the studies, with a focus on the cognitive function measurement tools used. A total of 42 papers fulfilled the inclusion criteria, including 10 studies from a recent Cochrane review. Our findings demonstrate variation in tested domains, lack of consistency in the use of measurement tools and analysis of results. Cognitive function measures in children aged under 59months have been mainly limited to domains of gross motor, fine motor and language skills, whereas in children aged 60months and above most studies tested domains such as memory and processing speed. Even within the same age group the results on the association between STH infections and measures of cognitive development were often conflicting. The current study highlights the need for methodological consensus in the use of measurement tools and data analysis protocols if the effect of STH infections on cognitive function domains in children is to be correctly established. This will be an imperative next step to generate conclusive evidence of the role of STH infections in cognitive development in children.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Disease Control
PubMed ID: 28942767
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/4433721

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