Toxoplasma gondii seropositivity and cognitive functions in school-aged children.
Parasitology. 2015 Aug ;142(9):1221-7. Epub 2015 May 20. PMID: 25990628
Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) infects one-third of the world population, but its association with cognitive functions in school-aged children is unclear. We examined the relationship between Toxoplasma seropositivity and neuropsychological tests scores (including math, reading, visuospatial reasoning and verbal memory) in 1755 school-aged children 12-16 years old who participated to the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, using multiple linear regressions adjusted for covariates. Toxoplasma seroprevalence was 7·7% and seropositivity to the parasite was associated with lower reading skills (regression coefficient [β] = -5·86, 95% confidence interval [CI]: -11·11, -0·61, P = 0·029) and memory capacities (β = -0·86, 95% CI: -1·58, -0·15, P = 0·017). The interaction between T. gondii seropositivityand vitamin E significantly correlated with memory scores. In subgroup analysis, Toxoplasma-associated memory impairment was worse in children with lower serum vitamin E concentrations (β = -1·61, 95% CI: -2·44, -0·77, P<0·001) than in those with higher values (β = -0·12, 95% CI: -1·23, 0·99, P = 0·83). In conclusion, Toxoplasma seropositivity may be associated with reading and memory impairments in school-aged children. Serum vitamin E seems to modify the relationship between the parasitic infection and memorydeficiency.