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Brain tumors in children impact cognition through adulthood

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Nov. 16, 2009

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Survivors of childhood central nervous system malignancies have a significant risk for neurocognitive impairment that continues through adulthood, according to a study in the November Neuropsychology (link).

A 25-item neurocognitive questionnaire was sent to people who were at least 16 years removed from their initial diagnosis of a childhood cancer.

Researchers analyzed data from 785 CNS cancer survivors; 5,870 survivors of non-CNS cancers, such as leukemia and Hodgkin's disease; and 379 siblings of CNS cancer survivors.

The authors found that survivors of CNS malignancies reported significantly greater neurocognitive dysfunction than did the other groups on all the survey's factors, including self initiation, multitasking, and long-term and working memory.

Risk of neurocognitive dysfunction was associated with treatment involving cranial irradiation or placement of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt, as well as a history of stroke, paralysis or auditory difficulties.

Compared with survivors of CNS malignancies, members of the sibling group were older, better-educated, and more likely to be employed, have a higher family income and have been married.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2009/11/16/prbf1116.htm.

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