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Structural brain differences and motor functioning in prenatally Methamphetamine exposed children in Cape Town

Du Toit, Stefani (2017-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY: Rates of methamphetamine use amongst pregnant women in South Africa is alarmingly high, rendering a large number of infants and children at risk for the adverse consequences of prenatal methamphetamine exposure (PME). Indeed, little is known about the effect of PME on brain and cognitive development in exposed children, especially in lowand middle-income settings like South Africa. The aim of the study was to contribute to the small, but growing, body of research that focuses on the brain development and motor performance of prenatally MA exposed children. The objectives were: (1) to examine the effect of PME on motor development in exposed children at the age of 8 years, compared to unexposed children of the same age; (2) to examine the effect of PME on structural brain volumes and cortical thicknesses of the brain in exposed children at the age of 8 years, compared to unexposed children; and (3) to investigate whether a correlation exists between altered brain development and motor function. Participants were 8 year old PME children (n = 17), and unexposed children (n=16) recruited from a local school and day care centre in the northern suburbs of Cape Town. PME children and unexposed controls completed two neurocognitive assessments (Beery Visual Motor Integration (VMI) test and Grooved Pegboard Test), assessing various aspects of motor function. Both groups also underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Independent sample t-tests showed that PME children scored significantly lower on measures of visual-motor integration, visual-motor coordination and fine motor development, when compared to unexposed children. Hierarchical regression analysis considering potential confounding anthropometric and socio-demographic variables and group effects, confirmed that poorer motor scores observed amongst PME children was as a result of PME. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) by group revealed that PME children had reduced cortical thickness in several brain areas that were associated with motor function.Overall, the findings of this study contribute to the growing body of literature available on the effect of PME on brain and motor development, especially in the South African context.

AFRIKAANS OPSOMMING: Die gebruik van metamfetamien onder swanger vroue in Suid Afrika is skrikwekkend hoog, wat ‘n hoë hoeveelheid babas en kinders blootstel aan die negatiewe gevolge van prenatale metamfetamien blootstelling (PMB). Min kennis is beskikbaar oor die uitwerking van PMB op brein en kognitiewe ontwikkeling in blootgestelde kinders, veral in lae- en middel-inkomste areas soos Suid Afrika. Die hoof doel was om toe te voeg tot die groeiende literatuur rakende brein ontwikkeling en motoriese funksie in kinders met PMB. Die doelstelling was: (1) om die effek van PMB op motoriese ontwikkeling in blootgestelde kinders te ondersoek op die ouderdom van 8 jaar; (2) om die effek van PMB op strukturele brein volumes en kortikale dikte te ondersoek in blootgestelde kinders op die ouderdom van 8 jaar; (3) om te ondersoek of daar ‘n korrelasie bestaan tussen veranderinge in brein ontwikkeling en motoriese funksie. Deelnemers was 8 jarige PMB kinders (n = 17), en nieblootgestelde kinders (n = 16) wat gewerf was vanaf ‘n plaaslike skool en dagsorg sentrum in die noordelike voorstede van Kaapstad. Beide PMB kinders en nie-blootgestelde kinders het twee neuro-kognitiewe toetse voltooi (Beery VMI toets en die Grooved Pegboard toets), wat verskeie aspekte van motoriese funksie evalueer. Beide groepe het ook magnetiese resonansbeelding ondergaan. ‘n Onafhanklike t-toets het gewys dat PMB kinders aansienlik laer presteer, vergelyking met nie-blootgestelde kinders, in toetse van visuele-motoriese integrasie, visuele-motoriese koordinasie en fyn motoriese ontwikkeling. Hiërargiese regressie-analise, wat die moontlike impak van antropometriese en sosio-demografiese veranderlikes en groep effek oorweeg het, het vasgestel dat laer motoriese tellings, onder PMB kinders, die oorsaak van PMB is. Ontleding van variansie onder groepe het gevind dat PMB kinders laer kortikale diktes in verskeie brein areas het wat verband hou met motoriese funksie. Algeheel, die bevindinge van die studie dra by tot die groeiende liggaam van literatuur beskikbaar op die effek van PMB op brein en motoriese ontwikkeling, veral in die Suid Afrikaanse konteks.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/102960
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