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Open AccessArticle

Cognitive Outcomes and Relationships with Phenylalanine in Phenylketonuria: A Comparison between Italian and English Adult Samples

1
School of Life and Health Sciences, Aston University, Birmingham B4 7ET, UK
2
Department of Human Neuroscience—Unit of Child Neurology and Psychiatry, Sapienza University of Rome, 00185 Rome, Italy
3
Department of Psychology, Sapienza University of Rome, 00185 Rome, Italy
4
Department of Experimental Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, 00185 Rome, Italy
5
Department of Clinical Medicine, Policlinico Umberto I, 00161 Rome, Italy
6
Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Trust, Birmingham B15 2TG, UK
7
Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, Magna Graecia University of Catanzaro, 88100 Catanzaro, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2020, 12(10), 3033; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12103033
Received: 26 August 2020 / Revised: 23 September 2020 / Accepted: 24 September 2020 / Published: 3 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition for Brain Development)
We aimed to assess if the same cognitive batteries can be used cross-nationally to monitor the effect of Phenylketonuria (PKU). We assessed whether a battery, previously used with English adults with PKU (AwPKU), was also sensitive to impairments in Italian AwPKU. From our original battery, we selected a number of tasks that comprehensively assessed visual attention, visuo-motor coordination, executive functions (particularly, reasoning, planning, and monitoring), sustained attention, and verbal and visual memory and learning. When verbal stimuli/or responses were involved, stimuli were closely matched between the two languages for psycholinguistic variables. We administered the tasks to 19 Italian AwPKU and 19 Italian matched controls and compared results from with 19 English AwPKU and 19 English matched controls selected from a previously tested cohort. Participant election was blind to cognitive performance and metabolic control, but participants were closely matched for age and education. The Italian AwPKU group had slightly worse metabolic control but showed levels of performance and patterns of impairment similar to the English AwPKU group. The Italian results also showed extensive correlations between adult cognitive measures and metabolic measures across the life span, both in terms of Phenylalanine (Phe) levels and Phe fluctuations, replicating previous results in English. These results suggest that batteries with the same and/or matched tasks can be used to assess cognitive outcomes across countries allowing results to be compared and accrued. Future studies should explore potential differences in metabolic control across countries to understand what variables make metabolic control easier to achieve. View Full-Text
Keywords: PKU; cognitive outcomes; cross-cultural; cross-countries; Phe associations PKU; cognitive outcomes; cross-cultural; cross-countries; Phe associations
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MDPI and ACS Style

Romani, C.; Manti, F.; Nardecchia, F.; Valentini, F.; Fallarino, N.; Carducci, C.; De Leo, S.; MacDonald, A.; Palermo, L.; Leuzzi, V. Cognitive Outcomes and Relationships with Phenylalanine in Phenylketonuria: A Comparison between Italian and English Adult Samples. Nutrients 2020, 12, 3033. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12103033

AMA Style

Romani C, Manti F, Nardecchia F, Valentini F, Fallarino N, Carducci C, De Leo S, MacDonald A, Palermo L, Leuzzi V. Cognitive Outcomes and Relationships with Phenylalanine in Phenylketonuria: A Comparison between Italian and English Adult Samples. Nutrients. 2020; 12(10):3033. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12103033

Chicago/Turabian Style

Romani, Cristina; Manti, Filippo; Nardecchia, Francesca; Valentini, Federica; Fallarino, Nicoletta; Carducci, Claudia; De Leo, Sabrina; MacDonald, Anita; Palermo, Liana; Leuzzi, Vincenzo. 2020. "Cognitive Outcomes and Relationships with Phenylalanine in Phenylketonuria: A Comparison between Italian and English Adult Samples" Nutrients 12, no. 10: 3033. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12103033

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