Neurocognitive deficits in children with brain tumors at diagnosis

Margelisch, Katja; Studer, Martina; Steinlin, Maja; Leibundgut, Kurt; Heinks Maldonado, Theda (2014). Neurocognitive deficits in children with brain tumors at diagnosis. Neuro-Oncology, 16(suppl 1), i99-i104. Oxford University Press 10.1093/neuonc/nou076

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Survivors of brain tumors are faced with a high risk for a wide range of cognitive problems and learning difficulties. These problems are caused by the lesion itself and its surgical removal as well as by the treatments to follow (chemo- and/or radiation therapy). A few recent studies have indicated that children with brain tumors (BT) might exhibit cognitive problems already at diagnosis, i.e. before the start of any medical treatment. The aim of the present study was to investigate the "baseline" neuropsychological profile in children with BT in comparison to children with an oncological diagnosis not involving the central nervous system (CNS). 20 children with BT and 27 children with an oncological disease without involvement of the CNS (age range: 6.1 to 16.9 years) were evaluated with an extensive battery of neuropsychological tests tailored to the patient's age. Furthermore, the child and its parents completed self-report questionnaires about emotional functioning and quality of life. In both groups, tests were administered before any therapeutic intervention such as surgery, chemotherapy or irradiation. Groups were comparable regarding age, gender and social economic status. Compared to the CG, patients with BTs performed significantly worse in tests of working memory, verbal memory and attention. In contrast the areas of perceptual reasoning, processing speed and verbal comprehension were preserved at this time. Younger children with BT were especially disadvantaged. Compared to aged matched children with malignancies not involving the CNS and older BT patients the young BT patients showed deficits in attention, working memory and verbal memory measures. Our results highlight the need for cognitive assessments and interventions early in the treatment process in order to minimize or even prevent academic difficulties as patients return to school.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


10 Strategic Research Centers > Center for Cognition, Learning and Memory (CCLM)
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Gynaecology, Paediatrics and Endocrinology (DFKE) > Clinic of Paediatric Medicine
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Psychological and Behavioral Health

UniBE Contributor:

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


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




Oxford University Press




Anette van Dorland

Date Deposited:

02 Jul 2014 09:06

Last Modified:

29 Mar 2023 23:34

Publisher DOI:


Additional Information:

Accepted abstract from the 2014 International Symposium on Pediatric Neuro-Oncology, published in an online supplement in the journal NEURO-ONCOLOGY. The citation for this supplement is Neuro Oncol 2014 June; 16(Suppl 1): 1-157. Specific page numbers for individual abstracts will be available when the supplement is posted online in June.

Neuro Oncol (2014) 16 (suppl 1): i99-i104.




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