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Neuropsychology of academic and behavioural limitations in school-age survivors of bacterial meningitis

  • Irene Koomen (a1), A Marceline van Furth (a2), Miriam AC Kraak (a3), Diederick E Grobbee (a1), John J Roord (a2) and Aag Jennekens-Schinkel (a3)...

Abstract

Neuropsychological impairments possibly underlying academic and/or behavioural limitations were studied in 149 school-age survivors of bacterial meningitis, 68 with and 81 without academic and/or behavioural limitations. Academic limitations affected mathematics, reading, and writing. Behavioural limitations were inferred from scores in the clinical range on the Child Behaviour Checklist. These children had been selected from a cohort of 674 children (57% males) who had recovered from non-Haemophilus influenzae type B bacterial meningitis and who had a mean age at infection of 2 years 4 months (range 1mo to 9y 5mo). They had neither ‘complex onset’ meningitis, prior cognitive or behavioural problems, nor severe disease sequelae. They were assessed with standardized assessment methods a mean of 7.8 years (range 4 to 10.4) after meningitis. Children with limitations (32% of the cohort) performed generically poorly on measures of cognitive functioning, speed, and motor steadiness, rather than having impairments in specific neuropsychological domains. The presence of two or more minor neurological signs was more frequent in the group with than in the group without limitations (30% versus 9%); this may explain the relatively poor speed and motor steadiness of the group with limitations.

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Corresponding author

University Medical Centre Utrecht, Wilhelmina Children's Hospital, Division of Neuropsychology, HP KG 01.327.1. PO Box 85090, 3508 GA Utrecht, the Netherlands. E-mail: A.Jennekens@wkz.azu.nl

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