To study prevalence and risk factors for neurological disorders – epilepsy, global developmental delay, and motor, vision, and hearing defects – in children aged 6 months to 2 years in northern India.METHOD
A two-stage community survey for neurological disorders was conducted in rural and urban areas of Lucknow. After initial screening with a new instrument, the Lucknow Neurodevelopment Screen, screen positives and a random proportion of screen negatives were validated using predefined criteria. Prevalence was calculated by weighted estimates. Demographic, socio-economic, and medical risk factors were compared between validated children who were positive and negative for neurological disorders by univariate and logistic regression analysis.RESULTS
Of 4801 children screened (mean age [SD] 15.32mo [5.96]; 2542 males, 2259 females), 196 were positive; 190 screen positives and 269 screen negatives were validated. Prevalence of neurological disorders was 27.92 per 1000 (weighted 95% confidence interval 12.24–43.60). Significant risk factors (p≤0.01) for neurological disorders were higher age in months (p=0.010), lower mean number of appliances in the household (p=0.001), consanguineous marriage of parents (p=0.010), family history of neurological disorder (p=0.001), and infants born exceptionally small (parental description; p=0.009). On logistic regression, the final model included age (p=0.0193), number of appliances (p=0.0161), delayed cry at birth (p=0.0270), postneonatal meningoencephalitis (p=0.0549), and consanguinity (p=0.0801).INTERPRETATION
Perinatal factors, lower socio-economic status, and consanguinity emerged as predictors of neurological disorders. These factors are largely modifiable.