Long-term effects from bacterial meningitis in childhood and adolescence on postural control.
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Ingason, Einar F
Einarsson, Einar J
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CitationPLoS ONE 2014, 9 (11):e112016
AbstractBacterial meningitis in childhood is associated with cognitive deficiencies, sensorimotor impairments and motor dysfunction later in life. However, the long-term effects on postural control is largely unknown, e.g., whether meningitis subjects as adults fully can utilize visual information and adaptation to enhance stability. Thirty-six subjects (20 women, mean age 19.3 years) treated in childhood or adolescence for bacterial meningitis, and 25 controls (13 women, mean age 25.1 years) performed posturography with eyes open and closed under unperturbed and perturbed standing. The meningitis subjects were screened for subjective vertigo symptoms using a questionnaire, clinically tested with headshake and head thrust test, as well as their hearing was evaluated. Meningitis subjects were significantly more unstable than controls during unperturbed (p≤0.014) and perturbed standing, though while perturbed only with eyes open in anteroposterior direction (p = 0.034) whereas in lateral direction both with eyes open and closed (p<0.001). Meningitis subjects had poorer adaption ability to balance perturbations especially with eyes open, and they frequently reported symptoms of unsteadiness (88% of the subjects) and dizziness (81%), which was found significantly correlated to objectively decreased stability. Out of the 36 subjects only 3 had unilateral hearing impairment. Hence, survivors of childhood bacterial meningitis may suffer long-term disorders affecting postural control, and would greatly benefit if these common late effects became generally known so treatments can be developed and applied.
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