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Association between Ov16 seropositivity and neurocognitive performance among children in rural Cameroon

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Subtitle:a pilot study
Infection with Onchocerca volvulus was recently reported to increase the risk for epilepsy in Cameroonian children. We investigated whether infection with O. volvulus may alter the cognitive function of children who may or may not develop epilepsy later in their lifetime. Using rapid diagnostic tests, we determined the presence of Ov16 antibodies in 209 school-aged children without epilepsy recruited from three Cameroonian villages, as a proxy for onchocerciasis exposure. In addition, the neurocognitive performance of these children was assessed using a battery of validated tools. Participants were aged 6-16 years, and 46.4% were Ov16 seropositive. Upon standardizing age-specific neurocognitive scores and investigating predictors of neurocognitive performance using multiple linear regression models (adjusted for gender, education level, previous ivermectin use, and anthropometric parameters), we found that being Ov16-positive was significantly associated with reduced semantic verbal fluency (estimate -0.38; 95% confidence interval -0.65 to -0.11; p = 0.006) and lower scores on the International HIV Dementia Scale (estimate -0.31; confidence interval -0.56 to -0.04; p = 0.025). Furthermore, an increasing frequency of past ivermectin use was associated with increased neurocognitive scores. Our findings suggest that exposure to O. volvulus may affect neurocognitive performance of children.
Journal: Journal of pediatric neuropsychology
ISSN: 2199-2681
Volume: 7
Pages: 192 - 202
Publication year:2021
Keywords:A1 Journal article