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Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sunil BhopalORCiD
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).
© 2021 The Author(s)Background: There is an urgent need to fill the gap of scalable cognitive assessment tools for preschool children to enable identification of children at-risk of sub-optimal development and to support their timely referral into interventions. We present the associations between growth in early childhood, a well-established marker of cognitive development, and scores on a novel digital cognitive assessment tool called DEvelopmental Assessment on an E-Platform (DEEP) on a sample of 3-year old pre-schoolers from a rural region in north India. Methods: Between February 2018 and March 2019, 1359 children from the Sustainable Programme Incorporating Nutrition and Games (SPRING) programme were followed up at 3-years age and data on DEEP, anthropometry and a clinical developmental assessment, the Bayley's Scale of Infant and Toddler Development, 3rd edition (BSID-III) was collected. DEEP data from 200 children was used to train a machine learning algorithm to predict their score on the cognitive domain of BSID-III. The DEEP score of the remaining 1159 children was then predicted using this algorithm to examine the cross-sectional and prospective association of growth with the DEEP score. Findings: The magnitude of the concurrent positive association between height-for-age and cognitive z-scores in 3-year olds was similar when cognition was measured by BSID-III (0.20 standard deviations increase for every unit change in specifically age-adjusted height (HAZ), 95% CI = 0.06–0.35) and DEEP (0.26 CI, 0.11–0.41). A similar positive prospective relationship was found between growth at 18 (0.21 CI, 0.17–0.26) and 12-months (0.18 CI, 0.13–0.23) and DEEP score measured at 3-years. Additionally, the relationship between growth and cognitive development was found to be dependant on socioeconomic status (SES). Interpretation: In this study, we suggest the utility of DEEP, a scalable, digital cognitive assessment tool, to measure cognition in preschool children. Further validation in different and larger datasets is necessary to confirm our findings. Funding: The SPRING Programme was funded through a Wellcome Trust programme grant and the follow-up study by the Corporate Social Responsibility initiative grant from Madura Microfinance Ltd.
Author(s): Bhavnani S, Mukherjee D, Bhopal S, Sharma KK, Dasgupta J, Divan G, Soremekun S, Roy R, Kirkwood B, Patel V
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Print publication date: 01/07/2021
Online publication date: 18/06/2021
Acceptance date: 28/05/2021
Date deposited: 19/07/2021
ISSN (electronic): 2589-5370
Publisher: Lancet Publishing Group
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