by amazon agency
Research conducted in the state followed 140 elderly people for eight months; The results were published in the scientific journal Nature.
Vivax malaria infection can harm the cognitive, executive, and functional functions of older adults for up to eight months. This is indicated by an article published in the journal “Nature” by researchers from the Carlos Borborema Clinical Research Institute (IPCCB), affiliated with Dr. Heitor Vieira Dorado (FMT-HVD), a unit of the Amazonas State Department of Health (SES-AM). The research provides the world’s first evidence of the cognitive impairments that malaria causes in this population.
Entitled “The Impact of Plasmodium vivax malaria on Executive and Cognitive Functions in Older People in the Brazilian Amazon,” the article presents the findings of doctoral research conducted by neuropsychologist Roxon Pessoa, a graduate program student in Tropical Medicine (PPGMT) at Amazonas State University (UEA) .
“This is the first study in the world to report the effects of malaria on the cognitive health of older adults. We found information on these effects in the scientific literature only on children and other schoolchildren. This is also one of the first studies to investigate in a more complex way the block of executive functions associated with malaria in This population,” Pessoa highlights.
Between February 2018 and November 2020, the research team followed a group of 140 participants consisting of two groups: 70 elderly people diagnosed with vivax malaria in FMT-HVD; And the so-called control group, made up of 70 elderly people with no history of vivax malaria in the last 12 months, according to data from the Malaria Epidemiological Surveillance Information System (Sivep-Malária/Ministry of Health).
All participants were over 60 years old and resided in Manaus. The group diagnosed with malaria received treatment in FMT-HVD, according to the Ministry of Health’s Guide to Malaria Treatment in Brazil.
The tests assessed participants’ working memory, planning, inhibitory control (the ability to block an action), cognitive flexibility and concept formation, using psychological tools similar to playing cards, card games or exercise, in which the individual needs to tell the time. An hour, for example.
Factors such as time of exposure to malaria over the years and frequency – how many times an individual has previously contracted the disease – as well as a high level of parasitemia were noted as predictors of executive impairment.
We observed that there was a relationship between these factors and the image presented by the participants. For example, older adults who had multiple malaria infections performed worse on cognitive assessment tests. In comparison, the control group showed better results.”
Aging and malaria
Given the aging population – according to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) estimates, in 2060, about 25% of the Brazilian population will be 60 years old – and high transmission rates of vivax malaria in subtropical and tropical regions, where the disease is endemic, it could be Malaria has a significant negative impact on cognition and functioning, which affects the quality of life of the elderly population.
This study indicates the need for more studies and interdisciplinary teams on this agenda. The world is aging, and we need to look at the aging population and think about rehabilitation practices, as these events add to the normal aging processes and affect quality of life, work and learning activities, and other functional issues,” stresses the report.
According to the publication, the results obtained in this study are important to inform public decision-makers and healthcare professionals and improve the quality of life of older adults, considering that this population is more susceptible to cognitive impairment.
To conduct the research, researcher neuropsychologist Dr. Jane Clarice Baia da Silva. Joint supervision by medical researchers Marcos Lacerda, Wilton Monteiro, and José Humberto Silva Filho. and a research grant from the Coordinating Body for the Development of Higher Education Personnel (Al-Raas).
Gabriella F, Oliveira Pessoa, Brenda Ka Souza, Vanderson S. Sampaio, André Luiz C.P. Pinto, Larissa El Barbosa, Gabriel S. Motta, Emmanuel Lira Silva and Gisele C. Mello are also the authors of the article.
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