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Severe Giardiasis During Infancy Can Affect Cognition

and Psychomotor Development

Samuel Hobarto Sampe and 2Yudha Nurdian

Student, Faculty of Medicine, University of Jember, Indonesia
Faculty of Medicine, University of Jember, Indonesia
Corresponding author:Samuel Hobarto Sampe,;

Cognitive function in children can be affected by environmental and health related factors. Risk
factors that interfere with cognitive function are especially important during infancy because the first
two years of life are an essential period of rapid growth and development, that is marked by rapid
brain growth and maturation, by neuronal arborisation, myelinisation and emergence of brain
networks. Nutrition, infection, and environment, have been found to affect neuroplasticity and to have
long lasting effects in developing children. Many of the hazards to early brain development are well
known, and include head injury, newborn asphyxia, infections of the brain in utero and in the first
year of life, genetic defects, lead poisoning and malnutrition. Micronutrient deficiencies (e.g., Iodine)
and iron deficiencies have been found to impair cognitive development. Giardia duodenalis
infestations during infancy can affect cognitive and psychomotor development due to chronic nutrient
loss from diarrhea. Significantly lower levels of iron and ferritin, known to affect psychomotor
development, have been detected in patients with giardiasis. Similarly, zinc and iron micronutrient
deficiencies due to diarrhea, as well as defects in the anti-oxidant system, which may all affect
neuroplasticity also detected in patient with giardiasis. All these chronic malnutrition secondary to
G. duodenalis infestations, can cause poor cognitive function also found to impair visual-motor
coordination, auditory short-term memory, information processing, and cortical cognitive function.
Interestingly, poor language cognition and impaired psychomotor development appear to be more
associated with Giardia sp. than with other enteropathogenic parasites such as Entamoeba histolytica,
Ascaris lumbricoides, Enterobius vermicularis, or Trichuris trichiura.

The work explain how G. duodenalis infestations affect the brain growth and maturation in infancy
and caused impaired cognitive and psycho-motor function.

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