Language skills and intelligence quotient of protein energy malnutrition survivors

J Trop Pediatr. 2012 Jun;58(3):226-30. doi: 10.1093/tropej/fmr081. Epub 2011 Sep 19.


The study was conducted on 33 children aged 3-6 years who suffered from protein energy malnutrition (PEM) during infancy in comparison to 30 matching children to assess the long-term deficits in cognition and language skills. The patients' files were revised to record their admission and follow-up data and history, clinical examination, intelligence quotient and language assessment were done. The study revealed that 2-5 years from the acute attack the PEM patients were still shorter than the controls and their cognitive abilities were poorer. Their mental ages and language skills were mostly determined by their height and the duration of follow-up during their acute illness. Additionally their diet after the 3-5 years is still defective and does not meet their recommended daily allowance. These observations urge us to continue following these patients for longer durations to make sure no permanent damage occurs due to the PEM insult to the growing brain.

MeSH terms

  • Aptitude
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child Language*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognition
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Growth Disorders / etiology
  • Hospitals, Teaching
  • Humans
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Intelligence*
  • Language Development*
  • Language Tests
  • Male
  • Protein-Energy Malnutrition / complications*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Survivors