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Tristan Manalac, Yesterday
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Early human respiratory syncytial virus infection weakens language learning in kids

09 Jan 2021
Bilingual upbringing is an advantage for kids as it hones their language mastery skills faster.

Infection with the human respiratory syncytial virus (hRSV) may lead to a severe respiratory disease which, in the long-run, could impair memory and language-learning, a recent study has found.

Eighty-nine infants participated in the study: 25 had an hRSV infection at 6 months and 20 at 12 months. Twenty-one and 23 noninfected controls at the respective age points were also included. Electroencephalography (EEG) experiments were conducted to measure the infants’ mismatch response (MMR), indicative of the ability to distinguish between native and non-native phonemes and, in turn, eventual reading skill.

At both 6 and 12 months of age, repeated-measures analysis of variance found a significant effect of group (infected vs controls). In particular, phonetic MMR was significantly more negative in noninfected controls for both the native (p=0.015) and non-native (p=0.018) contrasts. This indicates that control infants were more sensitive to the phonetic contrasts, in keeping with the typical pattern observed at this age.

By 12 months, control infants continued along the typical path of language development, seeing a flattening in the sensitivity to non-native phonemes. In hRSV-infected participants, however, MMR amplitude remained elevated, such that it was significantly greater than in controls (p=0.007).

In a subsequent experiment including 32 12-month-old (16 from either group) children, noninfected controls understood, said, or otherwise used a significantly greater sum of first phrases, words, and gests than their hRSV counterparts (p=0.03).

The present findings implicate severe hRSV respiratory infections in impaired language learning, which remained true “even though the infants from hRSV and control groups did not significantly differ in infants’ age, infants’ sex, maternal education, maternal age, and socioeconomic level, and, beyond the history of severe hRSV infection, had a similar developmental history.”

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Most Read Articles
01 Dec 2020
Tetanus toxoid 5 Lf, diphtheria toxoid 2 Lf, pertussis toxoid 2.5 mcg, filamentous haemagglutinin 5 mcg, fimbriae types 2 and 3 5 mcg, pertactin 3 mcg
Dr. Hsu Li Yang, Dr. Tan Thuan Tong, Dr. Andrea Kwa, 08 Jan 2021
Antimicrobial resistance has become increasingly dire as the rapid emergence of drug resistance, especially gram-negative pathogens, has outpaced the development of new antibiotics. At a recent virtual symposium, Dr Hsu Li Yang, Vice Dean (Global Health) and Programme Leader (Infectious Diseases), NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, presented epidemiological data on multidrug-resistant (MDR) gram-negative bacteria (GNB) in Asia, while Dr Tan Thuan Tong, Head and Senior Consultant, Department of Infectious Diseases, Singapore General Hospital (SGH), focused on the role of ceftazidime-avibactam in MDR GNB infections. Dr Andrea Kwa, Assistant Director of Research, Department of Pharmacy, SGH, joined the panel in an interactive fireside chat, to discuss challenges, practical considerations, and solutions in MDR gram-negative infections. This Pfizer-sponsored symposium was chaired by Dr Ng Shin Yi, Head and Senior Consultant of Surgical Intensive Care, SGH.
Tristan Manalac, Yesterday
While antibody titres against SARS-CoV-2 wane with time, the immune system is capable of producing memory B-cells that can last for at least 6 months after infection, suggesting that the body will be able to protect itself in the case of re-exposure, according to a new study.
Jairia Dela Cruz, 5 days ago
Spending too much time sitting cannot be good for the body, and rising to one's feet breaks up such a behaviour and yields small, but meaningful, reductions in certain cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, according to the results of a meta-analysis.