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Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 1996 Jul-Aug;90(4):391-4.

Absence of neuropsychological sequelae following cerebral malaria in Gambian children.

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Medical Research Council Laboratories, Banjul, Gambia.


Cerebral malaria causes major neurological sequelae in a proportion of survivors and may lead to neuropsychological sequelae in children who seem to have made a good recovery. If this is the case, cerebral malaria could have a dramatic impact on the development of thousands of African children. The present study was carried out to provide information on the incidence and type of neuropsychological sequelae in children who survive the disease without major neurological sequelae. A matched case-control study design was used in which 36 pairs of children were assessed. The cases had been treated for cerebral malaria a mean of 3.4 years before testing. No evidence of a serious long-term impact on most assessed neuropsychological functions was found in these children. Only in the balance test did cases perform less well than their matched controls, but the difference between the 2 groups was only of borderline significance. These findings suggest that the long-term impact of cerebral malaria on the development of children who recover without major neurological sequelae is not as serious as had been feared.

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