Memory and attention problems in children with brain tumors at diagnosis

Margelisch, Katja; Studer, Martina; Steinlin, Maja; Leibundgut, Kurt; Heinks Maldonado, Theda (10 February 2014). Memory and attention problems in children with brain tumors at diagnosis (Unpublished). In: International Cognition and Cancer Task Force Conference. Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, USA. 10.-12.02.2014.

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Purpose: Results from previous studies indicate that children with brain tumors (BT) might present with cognitive problems at diagnosis and thus before the start of any medical treatment. The question remains whether these problems are due to the underlying tumor itself or due to the high level of emotional and physical stress which is involved at diagnosis of a malignant disorder. All children with a de novo oncological diagnosis not involving the central nervous systems (CNS) are usually exposed to a comparable level of distress. However, patients with cancer not involving the CNS are not expected to show disease-related cognitive problems. Thus they serve as a well-balanced control group (CG) to help distinguish between the probable causes of the effect.
Method: In a pilot study we analyzed an array of cognitive functions in 16 children with BT and 17 control patients. In both groups, tests were administered in-patient at diagnosis before any therapeutic intervention such as surgery, chemotherapy od irradiation.
Results: Performance of children with BT was comparable to that of CG patients in the areas of intelligence, perceptual reasoning, verbal comprehension, working memory, and processing speed. In contrast, however, BT patients performded significantly worse in verbal memory and attention.
Conclusion: Memory and attention seem to be the most vulnerable funstions affected by BT, with other functions being preserved at the time of diagnosis. It ist to be expected that this vulnerability might exacerbate the cognitive decline after chemotherapy and radiation treatment - known to impair intellectual performance. The findings highlight the need of early cognitive assessments in children with BT in order to introduce cognitive training as early as possible to minimize or even prevent cognitive long-term sequelae. This might improve long-term academic and professional outcome of these children, but especially helps their return to school after hospitalization.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Gynaecology, Paediatrics and Endocrinology (DFKE) > Clinic of Paediatric Medicine
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology

UniBE Contributor:

Margelisch, Katja, Studer, Martina (A), Steinlin, Maja, Leibundgut, Kurt, Heinks Maldonado, Theda


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology


[UNSPECIFIED] Beatrice-Borer Foundation




Anette van Dorland

Date Deposited:

19 Jun 2014 11:04

Last Modified:

29 Mar 2023 23:34




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