Volume 59, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Pathologic studies of central nervous system damage in human falciparum malaria indicate primary localization in the cerebral white matter. We report a sensory-perceptual investigation of 20 Ghanaian children with a recent history of cerebral malaria who were age-, gender-, and education-matched with 20 healthy control subjects. Somatosensory examinations failed to show any evidence of hemianesthesia, pseudohemianesthesia, or extinction to double simultaneous tactile stimulation. While unilateral upper limb testing revealed intact unimanual tactile roughness discrimination, bimanual tactile discrimination, however, was significantly impaired in the cerebral malaria group. A strong negative correlation (r = -0.72) between coma duration and the bimanual tactile roughness discrimination test was also found. An inefficiency in the integrity of callosal fibers appear to account for our findings, although alternative subcortical mechanisms known to be involved in information transfer across the cerebral hemispheres may be compromised as well.


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