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Juraci Gonçalves de Lima, Carolina Araújo Rodrigues Funayama, Luiz Marcellino de Oliveira, Maria Rossato, José Fernando Colafêmina


There is evidence that the auditory evoked potential (AEP) is altered by malnutrition both in laboratory animals and in humans. The objective of the present study was to determine whether changes in the AEP caused by malnutrition could be reversed by nutritional rehabilitation and sensorymotor and environmental stimulation during hospitalization. Six children aged 5-33 months with severe malnutrition (kwashiorkor, marasmus and marasmic-kwashiorkor) were admitted to the Pediatric Ward of a University Hospital. Normal age and sex-matched children from the hospital day-care center were enrolled as a control group. The AEP was tested in an electrically and acoustically isolated room using a Nicolet CA 2000 microcomputer. Clicks of 90; 80; 70 and 60 dBn HL were presented through earphones. The results suggest that malnutrition leads to an increase in wave I latencies in patients with marasmus, and in waves I, III and V in those with kwashiorkor or marasmic-kwashiorkor type at 90 dB HL. At discharge, all but one patient with kwashiorkor showed reduced latencies of waves I, III and V compared to the values on admission. Despite the small sample, these preliminary results pointed out that the process of sensory stimulation used in our study in a properly directed, systematic and individualized manner showed encouraging results in terms of AEP recovery in these children.

Keywords: malnutrition, infants, nutritional rehabilitation, auditory evoked potential, stimulation. 

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Revista Brasileira de Análise do Comportamento/ Brazilian Journal of Behavior Analysis
ISSN 1807-8338 Versão Impressa / 2526-6551 Versão Eletrônica