Long-term neurocognitive and educational outcomes of neonatal insults in Kilifi, Kenya

Magai DN, Koot HM, Mwangi P, Chongwo E, Newton CR, Abubakar A
BMC Psychiatry. 2020;20

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BACKGROUND: There is little data on the long-term neurocognitive and educational outcomes among school-aged survivors of neonatal jaundice (NNJ) and hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) in Africa. This study investigates the long-term neurocognitive and educational outcomes and the correlates of these outcomes in school-aged survivors of NNJ or HIE in Kilifi, Kenya. METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional study on neurocognitive and educational outcomes among school-aged survivors (6-12 years) of NNJ (n = 134) and HIE (n = 107) and compared them to a community comparison group (n = 134). We assessed nonverbal intelligence, planning, working memory, attention, syntax, pragmatics, word-finding, memory, perceptual-motor, mathematical, and reading abilities. We also collected information on medical history, caregivers' mental health, and family environment. RESULTS: The survivors of NNJ had lower mean total scores in word-finding [F (1, 250) = 3.89, p = 0.050] and memory [F (1, 248) = 6.74, p = 0.010] than the comparison group. The survivors of HIE had lower mean scores in pragmatics [F (1, 230) = 6.61, p = 0.011] and higher scores higher scores in non-verbal reasoning [F (1, 225) =4.10, p = 0.044] than the comparison group. Stunted growth was associated with almost all the outcomes in HIE. CONCLUSION: Survivors of NNJ and HIE present with impairment in the multiple domains, which need to be taken into consideration in the planning of educational and rehabilitative services.