Background: There is a knowledge gap on the effect of early childhood deworming on development in low- and middle-income countries. This evidence is important in the critical window of growth and development before two years of age. Methods: A randomized controlled trial of the benefit, and optimal timing and frequency, of deworming on development was conducted in Iquitos, Peru. Children were enrolled during routine 12-month growth and development visits and randomly allocated to: (1) deworming at the 12-month visit and placebo at the 18-month visit; (2) placebo at the 12-month visit and deworming at the 18-month visit; (3) deworming at the 12 and 18-month visits; or (4) placebo at the 12 and 18-month visits. The Bayley Scales of Infant Development III was used to assess cognitive, language and motor skills at the 12 and 24-month visits. One-way ANOVA analyses used an intention-to-treat approach. Results: Between September 2011 and June 2012, 1760 children were enrolled. Attendance at the 24-month visit was 88.8% (n=1563). Raw scores on all subtests increased over 12 months; however, cognitive and expressive language scaled scores decreased. There was no statistically significant benefit of deworming, or effect of timing or frequency, on any of the development scores. Baseline height and weight and maternal education were associated with development scores at 24 months. Conclusions: After 12 months of follow-up, an overall benefit of deworming on cognition, language or fine motor development was not detected. Additional integrated child and maternal interventions should be considered to prevent developmental deficits in this critical period.
- Bayley Scales of Infant Development
- Fine motor skills
- Low- and middle-income countries
- Preschool-age children
- Randomized controlled trial