Assessing children's memory and learning ability following hospital admission with septicaemia and meningitis.

Psychological after-effects of meningitis and septicaemia

Scientific version
  • Researchers:
    Dr Christine Pierce, Dr Lorraine Als, Dr Mehrengise Cooper, Dr Simon Nadel, Miss Sau-Ming Hau, Miss Seray Vezir, Professor Barbara Sahakian, Professor Elena Garralda
  • Start Date:
    01 May 2007
  • Category:
    Treatment
  • Location:
    Imperial College, London, UK
Assessing children's memory and learning ability following hospital admission with septicaemia and meningitis.
The researchers had several aims:

•    to measure neuropsychological (e.g., IQ, memory, and attention) after-effects of septic illness and meningitis in children who had been treated in a paediatric intensive care unit (PICU)
•    to explore associations with school performance and emotions and behaviour
•    to understand what aspects of the acute illness may be linked to identified after-effects
•    to explore the persistence of these after-effects approximately one year following discharge from PICU.

You can find a Q&A session about learning and behavioural problems with Dr Als and Professor Garralda here.

There is also a patient summary of the research written by Dr Als for those who took part.




Results

The main results showed that difficulties in neuropsychological function and teacher rated school performance were increased in critically ill children when compared with healthy controls, and in some areas of function these problems were specially noted following meningo-encephalitis and sepsis over other critical illnesses. Moreover, significantly more children with meningo-encephalitis and sepsis were at high risk for emotional and behavioural problems in comparison to controls.

One year follow-up of a sub-sample of critically ill children showed that for many, the IQ and emotional/behavioural problems present during the early months of recovery persisted over time, with some problems getting significantly worse.

It is therefore vital for parents, clinicians, and teachers to become aware of these potential outcomes so that they are in a position to help children deal with any difficulties that may arise.

Members visit - March 2010

In March 2010, our members visited this research project at St Mary's Hospital, London. They met with researchers, discussed the project and got the chance to have a go at some of the tests being used to assess children in the study.

For many, it was a great opportunity to hear how important this research is. Andy Williamson was one of those members.
MRF members having a go at some of the assessment tests
MRF members having a go at some of the assessment tests

How this work has been shared

You can find a Q&A session about learning and behavioural problems with Dr Als and Professor Garralda here.

For those who took part in the study there is also a patient summary of the research written by Dr Als.

Presentations

"Neuropsychological functioning in children following PICU admission: background, design, and methodology"
presented at 5 international conferences in London, Oxford, Bristol and Cambridge.

Scientific posters presenting the work have also been shown at 6 international conferences, including the Meningitis Research Foundation conference in 2009.

For a more detailed list, please go to the scientific version of this page by clicking the button at the top.




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