The Neuropsychology of Sickle Cell Disease in Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Nicolas Ruffieux
  • Claude-Alain Hauert
Part of the Specialty Topics in Pediatric Neuropsychology book series (STPN)


Sickle cell disease (SCD) represents a major public health concern in West Africa and particularly in Cameroon. Cerebrovascular complications are a primary cause of mortality or persistent neurological and cognitive deficits in patients with SCD. Neuroradiological markers are unavailable to most children in Sub-Saharan Africa, and neuropsychological assessment may represent a reasonable, cost-effective, and sensitive means of detecting neurobehavioral deficits in these children who may, in turn, need urgent medical attention. This chapter presents a review of the first studies to explore the cognitive performance of Cameroonian children with SCD. Results show a high frequency of cognitive deficits in this population, with executive functions and attention being particularly vulnerable. Consistently with the brain/behavior omnibus concept of Boivin and Giordani (Progress in Brain Research 178: 113–135, 2009), patients with SCD in Cameroon demonstrated similar cognitive deficit profiles and developmental trends as patients with SCD in Western countries. Therefore, cognitive rehabilitation tools developed in resource-rich countries for children with SCD, if properly adapted, may be of benefit to children with the disease in West Africa.


Executive Function Cognitive Deficit Sickle Cell Disease Cerebral Malaria Continuous Performance Test 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Psychology and Educational SciencesUniversity of GenevaGeneve 4Switzerland

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