Neurocysticercosis and Performance on Neuropsychologic Tests: A Family Study in Ecuador

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  • Section on Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, Laboratory of Psychology and Psychopathology, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, Academia Ecuatoriana de Neurociencias, Bethesda, Maryland, Ecuador
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Neurocysticercosis (NCC) is a common neurologic disorder in developing countries, where it may pose a major public health challenge. Recently, the disorder has become more commonly diagnosed in developed countries as a result of the influx of migrants from countries where the disease is endemic. The clinical syndrome associated with NCC includes neurologic, physical, and functional problems. Since the locus of the infection is mainly the central nervous system, there is a risk of neuropsychologic dysfunction. This study was conducted in Ecuador in a group of 123 subjects (49 males and 74 females, 9–62 years of age) from a community sample that was part of a larger neuroepidemiologic inquiry. A discriminant function procedure was used to select the tests that would be most sensitive at distinguishing between affected and nonaffected individuals. The results suggest that behavioral functions that include aspects of inhibitory control, motor, and visual-motor output are impaired in adolescent and adult subjects with NCC.