New Urgency in Battle Against 'Bound Legs' Disease
[Source: Science Daily.com]
The harm done by konzo — a disease overshadowed by the war and drought it tends to accompany — goes beyond its devastating physical effects to impair children’s memory, problem solving and other cognitive functions.
Even children without physical symptoms of konzo appear to lose cognitive ability when exposed to the toxin that causes the disease, researchers report in the journal Pediatrics.
“That’s what’s especially alarming,” said lead author Michael Boivin, a Michigan State University associate professor of psychiatry and of neurology and ophthalmology. “We found subtle effects that haven’t been picked up before. These kids aren’t out of the woods, even if they don’t have the disease.”
Konzo means “bound legs” in the African Yaka language, a reference to how its victims walk with feet bent inward after the disease strips away motor control in their lower limbs. Its onset is rapid, and the damage is permanent.
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