Neurocognitive Function and Its Related Potentials in Children with Beta Thalassemia Major: An Egyptian Study
BACKGROUND: Repeated blood transfusions and hemolysis in Î²-Thalassemia major children lead to iron overload in various organs, including the brain which may cause neurodegeneration.
AIM: To evaluate intelligence quotient in children with Î²-thalassemia major and healthy counterparts and to assess risk factors that cause cognitive problems.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS: This case-control study was performed on 50 children aged 6-16 years old with Î²-thalassemia major as patients group and compared with 50 healthy children as a control group of matched age, sex, and social class. Cognitive functions were evaluated by using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children. Serum ferritin and iron were measured by ELISA.
RESULTS: There were significantly lower mean performance and full-scale IQ scores of patients group in comparison with controls, whereas no significant differences between both groups as regards to a verbal IQ score. In thalassemic children, block design, comprehension and arithmetic were negatively correlated with age of disease onset, duration of illness and onset of chelation therapy. Serum iron and ferritin were negatively correlated with similarities and digit span. Serum iron levels were negatively correlated with performance IQ score.
CONCLUSION: Children with Î²-thalassemia major need to receive more academic attention and cognitive assessment to improve their IQ.
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