Timed performance weaknesses on computerized tasks in pediatric brain tumor survivors: A comparison with sibling controls

Marieke Anna de Ruiter, Martha Alexandra Grootenhuis, Rosa van Mourik, Heleen Maurice-Stam, Marinus Hermanus Maria Breteler, Corrie Gidding, Laura Rachel Beek, Bernd Granzen, Dannis Gilbert van Vuurden, Antoinette Yvonne Narda Schouten-van Meeteren, Jaap Oosterlaan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

With more children surviving a brain tumor, insight into the late effects of the disease and treatment is of high importance. This study focused on profiling the neurocognitive functions that might be affected after treatment for a pediatric brain tumor, using a broad battery of computerized tests. Predictors that may influence neurocognitive functioning were also investigated. A total of 82 pediatric brain tumor survivors (PBTSs) aged 8–18 years (M = 13.85, SD = 3.15, 49% males) with parent-reported neurocognitive complaints were compared to a control group of 43 siblings (age M = 14.27, SD = 2.44, 40% males) using linear mixed models. Neurocognitive performance was assessed using measures of attention, processing speed, memory, executive functioning, visuomotor integration (VMI), and intelligence. Tumor type, treatment, tumor location, hydrocephalus, gender, age at diagnosis, and time since diagnosis were entered into regression analyzes as predictors for neurocognitive functioning. The PBTSs showed slower processing speeds and lower intelligence (range effect sizes.71–.82, p <.001), as well as deficits in executive attention, short-term memory, executive functioning, and VMI (range effect sizes.40–.57, p <.05). Older age at assessment was associated with better neurocognitive functioning (B =.450, p <.001) and younger age at diagnosis was associated with lower intelligence (B =.328, p <.05). Medical risk factors, e.g., hydrocephalus, did not show an association with neurocognitive functioning. Late effects in PBTSs include a broad range of neurocognitive deficits. The results suggest that even PBTSs that were traditionally viewed as low risk for neurocognitive problems (e.g., surgery only, no hydrocephalus) may suffer from decreased neurocognitive functioning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-227
Number of pages20
JournalChild Neuropsychology
Volume23
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2017

Keywords

  • attention
  • brain tumor
  • Cancer
  • memory
  • speed

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