* Structural brain network development in children following prenatal methamphetamine exposure.
- Brain imaging studies in children with prenatal methamphetamine exposure (PME) suggest structural and functional alterations of striatal, frontal, parietal and limbic regions. However, no longitudinal studies have investigated changes in structural connectivity during the first two years of formal schooling. The aim of this study was to explore the effects of PME on structural connectivity of brain networks in children over the critical first two years of formal schooling when foundational learning takes place. Networks are expected to gradually increase in global connectedness while segregating into defined systems. Graph theoretical analysis was used to investigate changes in structural connectivity at age 6 and 8 years in children with (n = 17) and without PME (n = 16). While healthy control children showed increased connectivity in frontal and limbic hubs over time, children with PME showed increased connectivity in the superior parietal cortex and striatum in their global network. Furthermore, compared to control children, those with PME were characterized by less change in segregation of structural networks over time. These findings are consistent with previous work on regions implicated in children with PME, but they additionally demonstrate alterations in structural connectivity between regions that underlie primary cognitive, behavioral and emotional development. Understanding patterns of network development during critical periods in at-risk children may inform strategies for supporting this group of children in these developmental tasks important for lifelong brain health and development. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
* Identification of potential 'hot spots' of cystic echinococcosis transmission in the province of Río Negro, Argentina.
- Cystic echinococcosis (CE) is a parasitic zoonosis caused by Echinococcus granulosus. The control program of CE of Rio Negro province, Argentina, involves annual surveillance using ultrasound (US) screening in school children, and five-year cross-sectional surveys to detect livestock farms with parasitized dogs by coproELISA with confirmation tests (Western Blot or PCR). Control program is based on deworming of dogs with praziquantel and the aim is to identify areas at risk of Cystic echinococcosis transmission to humans, using all available data sources. The information was spatially distributed in 13 program areas and, at a smaller geographical scale, in 80 Primary Health Care Centers. CoproELISA surveys involved three randomized sampling periods (2003-05, 2009-10, 2017-18), with 1790 canine fecal samples. The US surveys were conducted in 2003-08, 2009-16 and 2017-18 in 34515 children. Heat maps were created at the smallest geographic scale with QGIS 3.4.6. For the consecutive sampling periods, prevalence of positive canine fecal samples from livestock farms were 14.7, 12.1 and 7.8%, respectively, and children prevalence was 0.4, 0.2 and 0.1%, respectively. The study has been developed on a scale according to which the temporal-spatial distribution of CE allows to adjust control strategies in those areas of potential transmission of the zoonosis to humans.