Brain injury in paediatric tuberculous meningitis: mechanisms of injury and biomarkers of outcome


  • Dr Ursula Rohlwink

    University of Cape Town, South Africa

Project summary

Tuberculous meningitis (TBM) occurs when tuberculosis infects the brain. TBM disproportionately affects children likely because their young immune systems are vulnerable. Their brains are also vulnerable and TBM causes considerable brain damage which leads to death in 20% of children and leaves more than half disabled. We need to find ways to treat these children better, specifically by developing treatments that combat brain injury. To do this we need to understand what disease processes injure the brain and we need to detect this injury early and easily, so that we can respond timeously. We aim to 1) test sensitive blood tests to detect brain injury early, and 2) investigate the causes of brain injury. Accurate blood tests could accelerate the start of TBM treatment before brain injury becomes permanent, and understanding the mechanisms of brain injury could identify novel treatment targets to improve patient outcomes.