Volume 74, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Cognitive function was assessed in 191 Bangladeshi children 6–9 years of age using verbal and nonverbal tests. These scores were added to a health surveillance database that was compiled over the four previous years that includes incidence of diarrhea and infection and nutritional status. The associations of diarrhea, malnutrition, and social factors with cognitive scores were analyzed statistically, and associations between diarrhea and test scores were controlled for the influence of social factors. Cognitive scores were negatively associated with stunting during school age, as well as the height-for-age and weight-for-age scores at study enrollment. Incidence of diarrhea was associated with nonverbal test scores before, but not after, controlling for socioeconomic factors. Generally infection was not found to independently influence scores, except that -associated dysentery was associated with lower test scores while dysentery of any etiology was not. Thus, malnutrition during the school age years, but not diarrhea or infection, was associated with a lower level of cognitive functioning. This suggested that intervention during school age years may be able to mitigate the cognitive deficiencies associated with malnutrition.


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  • Received : 17 Aug 2005
  • Accepted : 31 Oct 2005

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