Publications by authors named "Ingrid Tonning Olsson"

12 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Cognitive Fatigue and Processing Speed in Children Treated for Brain Tumours.

J Int Neuropsychol Soc 2021 Jan 14:1-10. Epub 2021 Jan 14.

Lund University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences Lund, Paediatrics, SE-221 85 Lund, Sweden.

Objective: The relationship between fatigue and cognition has not been fully elucidated in children and adolescent survivors of brain tumours. The aim of the present study was to investigate the potential relationship between fatigue and cognitive impairments in these survivors, as this group is at risk for both types of deficits.

Methods: Survivors of paediatric brain tumours (n = 45) underwent a neuropsychological testing on average 4 years after diagnosis. Mean age at follow-up was 13.41 years. Cognition was assessed with neuropsychological tests, and fatigue with the Pediatric Quality of Life (PedsQL™) Multidimensional Fatigue Scale. Regression analysis, adjusted for cranial radiotherapy and age at diagnosis, was used to investigate the associations between cognitive variables and fatigue subscales. Cognitive variables associated with fatigue were subsequently exploratively assessed.

Results: Significant associations were found for cognitive fatigue and measures of cognitive processing speed; Coding: p = .003, r = .583, 95% CI [9.61; 22.83] and Symbol Search: p = .001, r = .585, 95% CI [10.54; 24.87]. Slower processing speed was associated with poorer results for cognitive fatigue. Survivors with the largest decrease in processing speed from baseline to follow-up also experienced the most cognitive fatigue. Survivors expressed more cognitive fatigue compared to other types of fatigue.

Conclusions: The association between cognitive fatigue and cognitive processing speed in children and adolescents treated for brain tumours is in concordance with the results previously reported in adults. Some survivors experience fatigue without impairment in processing speed, indicating the need for comprehensive assessments. Moreover, the study supports that fatigue is a multidimensional concept which should be measured accordingly.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1355617720001332DOI Listing
January 2021

Pain and functional outcomes in adult survivors of childhood cancer: A report from the St. Jude Lifetime Cohort study.

Cancer 2020 Dec 28. Epub 2020 Dec 28.

Department of Epidemiology and Cancer Control, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee.

Background: Although survivors of childhood cancer are at risk of chronic pain, the impact of pain on daily functioning is not well understood.

Methods: A total of 2836 survivors (mean age, 32.2 years [SD, 8.5 years]; mean time since diagnosis, 23.7 years [SD, 8.2 years]) and 343 noncancer community controls (mean age, 35.5 years [SD, 10.2 years]) underwent comprehensive medical, neurocognitive, and physical performance assessments, and completed measures of pain, health-related quality of life (HRQOL), and social functioning. Multinomial logistic regression models, using odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs), examined associations between diagnosis, treatment exposures, chronic health conditions, and pain. Relative risks (RRs) between pain and neurocognition, physical performance, social functioning, and HRQOL were examined using modified Poisson regression.

Results: Approximately 18% of survivors (95% CI, 16.1%-18.9%) versus 8% of controls (95% CI, 5.0%-10.9%) reported moderate to very severe pain with moderate to extreme daily interference (P < .001). Severe and life-threatening chronic health conditions were associated with an increased likelihood of pain with interference (odds ratio, 2.03; 95% CI, 1.62-2.54). Pain with daily interference was found to be associated with an increased risk of impaired neurocognition (attention: RR, 1.88 [95% CI, 1.46-2.41]; and memory: RR, 1.65 [95% CI, 1.25-2.17]), physical functioning (aerobic capacity: RR, 2.29 [95% CI, 1.84-2.84]; and mobility: RR, 1.71 [95% CI, 1.42-2.06]), social functioning (inability to hold a job and/or attend school: RR, 4.46 [95% CI, 3.45-5.76]; and assistance with routine and/or personal care needs: RR, 5.64 [95% CI, 3.92-8.10]), and HRQOL (physical: RR, 6.34 [95% CI, 5.04-7.98]; and emotional: RR, 2.83 [95% CI, 2.28-3.50]).

Conclusions: Survivors of childhood cancer are at risk of pain and associated functional impairments. Survivors should be screened routinely for pain and interventions targeting pain interference are needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.33303DOI Listing
December 2020

Insomnia and Neurocognitive Functioning in Adult Survivors of Childhood Cancer.

JNCI Cancer Spectr 2020 Jun 19;4(3):pkaa008. Epub 2020 Feb 19.

Department of Epidemiology and Cancer Control, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN, USA.

Background: In noncancer populations, insomnia is known to affect neurocognitive processes. Although the prevalence of insomnia appears to be elevated in survivors of childhood cancer, relatively little is known about its association with neurocognitive performance in this at-risk population.

Methods: A total of 911 survivors (51.9% female; mean [SD] age, 34 [9.0] years; time since diagnosis, 26 [9.1] years) completed direct assessments of attention, memory, processing speed, and executive functioning and self-reported symptoms of sleep (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index), fatigue (Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Fatigue), and daytime sleepiness (Epworth Sleepiness Scale). Sex-stratified general linear models were used to examine associations between insomnia and neurocognitive performance, with adjustment for treatment exposures and chronic health conditions. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results: Insomnia was reported by 22.1% of females and 12.3% of males ( < .001). After adjustment for neurotoxic treatment exposures, insomnia (vs healthy sleepers with no daytime fatigue or sleepiness) was associated with worse neurocognitive performance in the domains of verbal reasoning, memory, attention, executive function, and processing speed (verbal reasoning: males β = -0.34,  = .04, females β = -0.57,  < .001; long-term memory: males β = -0.60,  < .001, females β = -0.36,  = .02; sustained attention: males β = -0.85,  < .001, females β = -0.42,  = .006; cognitive flexibility: males β = -0.70, =.002, females β = -0.40,  = .02). Self-reported sleep disturbance without daytime fatigue or sleepiness or daytime fatigue or sleepiness alone were not consistently associated with poorer neurocognitive performance.

Conclusions: Insomnia was highly prevalent and contributed to the neurocognitive burden experienced by adult survivors of childhood cancer. Treatment of insomnia may improve neurocognitive problems in survivors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jncics/pkaa008DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7197383PMC
June 2020

Cognitive fatigue in relation to depressive symptoms after treatment for childhood cancer.

BMC Psychol 2020 Apr 10;8(1):31. Epub 2020 Apr 10.

Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences Lund, Paediatrics, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.

Background: Cognitive fatigue after childhood cancer is frequently overlooked despite guidelines recommending follow-up, and might be mistaken for depression due to overlapping symptoms. Our objectives were: 1) to examine ratings of fatigue in survivors of paediatric brain tumours (BT) and acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) compared to healthy controls, 2) to examine the relationship between symptoms of depression and cognitive fatigue, and 3) to evaluate parent-child concordance in ratings of cognitive fatigue.

Methods: Survivors of BT (n = 30), survivors of ALL (n = 30), and healthy controls (n = 60) aged 8-18 years completed the Pediatric Quality of Life Multidimensional Fatigue Scale and the Beck Youth Inventories. Associations between cognitive fatigue, diagnosis and depression were assessed with general linear modelling. Group differences were analysed using the Kruskal-Wallis test. Parent-child concordance was investigated with internal consistency reliability.

Results: Cognitive fatigue was prevalent in 70% of survivors of BT survivors and in 30% of survivors of ALL. Diagnosis was the main predictor of cognitive fatigue (p < .001, η = 0.178), followed by depression (p = .010, η = 0.080). Survivors of BT reported significantly more fatigue than healthy controls on all fatigue subscales. While they also expressed more symptoms of depression, we found no evidence for an interaction effect. Parent-child concordance was moderate to good among survivors, but poor for controls.

Conclusions: Survivors of BT and ALL suffer from cognitive fatigue, with survivors of BT expressing more problems. Cognitive fatigue and depression should be assessed in survivors of childhood cancer using both self-rated and proxy-rated measures, and appropriate interventions offered.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40359-020-00398-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7146960PMC
April 2020

Neurocognitive and psychosocial outcomes in adult survivors of childhood soft-tissue sarcoma: A report from the St. Jude Lifetime Cohort.

Cancer 2020 04 8;126(7):1576-1584. Epub 2020 Jan 8.

Department of Epidemiology and Cancer Control, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee.

Background: To the authors' knowledge, few studies to date have examined long-term neurocognitive outcomes in survivors of childhood soft-tissue sarcoma.

Methods: A total of 150 survivors (41% of whom were female with a mean current age of 33 years [SD, 8.9 years] and a time since diagnosis of 24 years [SD, 8.7 years]) and 349 community controls (56% of whom were female with a mean current age of 35 years [SD, 10.2 years]) completed comprehensive neuropsychological testing, echocardiography, electrocardiography, pulmonary function tests, endocrine evaluation, and physical examination. Patient-reported outcomes of health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and social attainment were collected. Survivors were compared with norms and controls on neurocognitive outcomes using general linear models, and on HRQOL and social attainment using modified Poisson models. The impacts of treatment and chronic health conditions on outcomes were examined using multivariable general linear models (effect size was expressed as unstandardized β estimates that reflected the unit of change from a mean of 0 and an SD of 1) and modified Poisson models (effect size expressed as relative risks).

Results: Compared with controls and population norms, survivors demonstrated lower performance on measures of verbal reasoning (mean z score, -0.45 [SD, 1.15]; P < .001) mathematics (mean z score, -0.63 [SD, 1.07]; P < .001), and long-term memory (mean z score, -0.37 [SD, 1.14]; P < .001). Cumulative anthracycline exposure (per 100 mg/m ) was found to be associated with poorer verbal reasoning (β = -0.14 z scores; P = .04), reading (β = -0.09 z score; P = .04), and patient-reported vitality (relative risk, 1.32; 95% CI, 1.09-1.59). Neurologic and neurosensory chronic conditions were associated with poorer mathematics (neurologic conditions: β = -0.63 z score [P = 0.02]; and hearing impairment: β = -0.75 z scores [P < 0.01]). Better cognitive performance was associated with higher social attainment.

Conclusions: Long-term survivors of soft-tissue sarcoma are at risk of neurocognitive problems and poor HRQOL associated with anthracycline treatment and chronic health conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.32694DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7104616PMC
April 2020

Neurocognitive outcomes in long-term survivors of Wilms tumor: a report from the St. Jude Lifetime Cohort.

J Cancer Surviv 2019 Aug 26;13(4):570-579. Epub 2019 Jun 26.

Department of Epidemiology and Cancer Control, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, MS 735, Memphis, TN, 38105-3678, USA.

Purpose: To examine prevalence and predictors of neurocognitive outcomes, social attainment, emotional distress, and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in long-term survivors of pediatric Wilms tumor (WT).

Methods: One hundred fifty-eight WT survivors (59% female; mean [SD] age 33 [9.1] years; time since diagnosis 29 [9.1] years) and 354 community controls (55.6% female; 35 [10.2] years) completed comprehensive neuropsychological testing and physical examination, including echocardiography/electrocardiography, pulmonary function tests, and endocrine evaluation. Self-report of emotional distress, HRQOL, and social attainment were collected. Impairment was defined in relation to both controls and normative data. Generalized linear models were developed to examine impact of treatment and chronic health conditions on outcomes.

Results: WT survivors performed poorer than norms and controls in 6 of 16 cognitive variables and 1 of 8 HRQOL variables, with scores ranging from - 0.64 (mathematics) to - 0.21 (verbal fluency) standard deviations below expectations. Compared to controls, WT survivors were less likely to graduate college (odds ratio 2.23, 95% confidence interval 1.46-3.41) and had more moderate to severe neurologic conditions (18.4% vs 8.2%, p < 0.001), which were associated with poor memory (β = - 0.90, p < 0.001), attention (β = - 1.02, p < 0.001), and HRQOL general health (β = - 0.80, p = 0.0015). Treatment variables and cardiopulmonary morbidity (higher in survivors) were not associated with outcomes.

Conclusions: Survivors of WT demonstrate impairment in neurocognitive function and have lower social attainment during adulthood, with poorer neurocognitive function associated with neurologic morbidity.

Implications For Cancer Survivors: Survivors of WT should be offered neurocognitive evaluations and rehabilitation. Neurologic conditions should be routinely assessed, and appropriate support offered to reduce risk for functional limitations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11764-019-00776-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6679797PMC
August 2019

Alcohol consumption behaviors and neurocognitive dysfunction and emotional distress in adult survivors of childhood cancer: a report from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study.

Addiction 2019 02 19;114(2):226-235. Epub 2018 Oct 19.

Department of Epidemiology and Cancer Control, St Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN, USA.

Aims: To estimate the level of alcohol consumption behaviors in adult survivors of childhood cancer and to test associations between alcohol consumption behaviors and symptoms of neurocognitive impairment and emotional distress.

Design: Retrospective cohort study with longitudinal follow-up of self-reported health outcomes.

Setting: Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS), a 26-center study of ≥ 5-year survivors of childhood cancer diagnosed ≤ 21 years of age between 1970 and 1986 in the United States and Canada.

Participants: A total of 4484 adult survivors of childhood cancer [mean (standard deviation) age at evaluation = 34.8 (6.1) years; time from diagnosis = 24.8 (4.4) years] and 1651 sibling controls who completed surveys reporting on alcohol use, neurocognitive impairment and emotional distress.

Measurements: Survivor report of alcohol use included age at drinking initiation and quantity and frequency of alcohol consumption. Neurocognition was assessed using the CCSS Neurocognitive Questionnaire. Emotional distress symptoms were measured using the Brief Symptoms Inventory-18 and the Posttraumatic Stress Diagnostic Scale.

Findings: After adjustment for childhood cancer treatment exposures, including cranial radiation therapy, drinking initiation prior to 18 years of age was associated with 30% increased risk of subsequent memory problems [risk ratio (RR) = 1.3; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.1-1.5]. Younger age at drinking initiation was associated with future risk of depression (RR = 1.3; 95% CI = 1.1-1.5), anxiety (RR = 1.6; 95% CI = 1.3-2.1), and somatization (RR = 1.2; 95% CI = 1.1-1.4). Persistent heavy/risky drinking was associated with 80% increased risk of persistent psychological distress (RR = 1.8, 95% CI = 1.4-2.3).

Conclusions: Drinking initiation during adolescence is associated with modest increased risk for memory impairment and emotional distress in adult survivors of childhood cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/add.14439DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6421854PMC
February 2019

Attainment of Functional and Social Independence in Adult Survivors of Pediatric CNS Tumors: A Report From the St Jude Lifetime Cohort Study.

J Clin Oncol 2018 09 9;36(27):2762-2769. Epub 2018 Aug 9.

Tara M. Brinkman, Kirsten K. Ness, Zhenghong Li, I-Chan Huang, Kevin R. Krull, Amar Gajjar, Thomas E. Merchant, James L. Klosky, Robyn E. Partin, Ingrid Tonning Olsson, Frederick Boop, Paul Klimo Jr, Wassim Chemaitilly, Raja Khan, Deokumar Srivastava, Leslie L. Robison, Melissa M. Hudson, and Gregory T. Armstrong, St Jude Children's Research Hospital; and Frederick Boop and Paul Klimo Jr, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN.

Purpose Beyond survival, achieving independence is a primary goal for adult survivors of pediatric CNS tumors. However, the prevalence of and risk factors for failure to achieve independence, assessed with multiple concurrent indicators, have not been examined. Patients and Methods Functional and social independence was assessed in 306 survivors (astrocytoma [n = 130], medulloblastoma [n = 77], ependymoma [n = 36], and other [n = 63]; median current age, 25.3 years [range, 18.9 to 53.1 years]; time since diagnosis, 16.8 years [range, 10.6 to 41.8 years]). Six observed indicators were used to identify latent classes of independence, which included employment, living independently, assistance with personal care, assistance with routine needs, obtaining a driver's license, and marital status. Physical performance impairments were defined as scores < 10th percentile on measures of aerobic capacity, strength, flexibility, balance, mobility, and adaptive function. Multinomial logistic regression estimated odds ratios (ORs) and 95% CIs were calculated for associations of disease/treatment exposures and impairments in physical performance with nonindependence. Results Three classes of independence were identified as independent (40%), moderately independent (34%), and nonindependent (26%). In multivariable models, craniospinal irradiation (OR, 4.20; 95% CI, 1.69 to 10.44) and younger age at diagnosis (OR, 1.24; 95% CI, 1.14 to 1.35) were associated with risk of nonindependence versus independence. Beyond impaired IQ, limitations in aerobic capacity (OR, 5.47; 95% CI, 1.78 to 16.76), flexibility (OR, 3.66; 95% CI, 1.11 to 12.03), and adaptive physical function (OR, 11.54; 95% CI, 3.57 to 37.27) were associated with nonindependence versus independence. Nonindependent survivors reported reduced physical but not mental health-related quality of life compared with independent survivors. Conclusion Sixty percent of survivors of pediatric CNS tumors do not achieve complete independence as adults. Reduction in intensity of primary therapies and interventions that target physical performance and adaptive deficits may help survivors to achieve greater independence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2018.77.9454DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6145833PMC
September 2018

Pretreatment Cognition in Patients Diagnosed With Pediatric Brain Tumors.

Pediatr Neurol 2018 02 22;79:28-33. Epub 2017 Nov 22.

Department of Paediatrics, Skåne University Hospital, Lund, Sweden; Department of Clinical Sciences Lund, Paediatrics, Lund University, Lund, Sweden; Department of Psychology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.

Background: There is a large body of literature identifying risk factors for the long-term cognitive alterations found in survivors of pediatric brain tumors. Less is known about baseline cognitive functioning in this population, but studies suggest that cognitive dysfunctions are often present at the time of diagnosis. This study aimed to identify potential risk factors for lower cognitive function at the time of pediatric brain tumor diagnosis.

Methods: Participants were children and adolescents (n = 101) diagnosed with a pediatric brain tumor between 2006 and 2015, who underwent a pretreatment neuropsychologic assessment. Multivariate regression models were used to estimate the association between gender, age at diagnosis, tumor size and location, increased intracranial pressure, epilepsy, and six different indicators of cognitive functioning.

Results: Overall, cognitive performance was relatively intact, with results close to norm means, but impairments were found in memory and cognitive processing speed. Male gender, older age, epilepsy, increased intracranial pressure, and larger tumors were all associated with lower cognitive function at the time of brain tumor diagnosis; whereas tumor location was not.

Conclusions: Pretreatment neuropsychologic assessments, with some adjustments, can be carried out with children and adolescents with brain tumors. Our study adds to a small but growing body of literature documenting cognitive impairments at the time of diagnosis; these impairments may partly explain the longer-term deficits that commonly occur in pediatric brain tumor survivors. Consistent with previous research, pretreatment impairments were more common among boys, older children, and those with increased intracranial pressure, epilepsy, and larger tumors. The relationship between baseline and longer-term cognitive deficits requires further examination.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2017.11.008DOI Listing
February 2018

Cerebellar mutism syndrome in children with brain tumours of the posterior fossa.

BMC Cancer 2017 Jun 21;17(1):439. Epub 2017 Jun 21.

Department of Neurosurgery, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Background: Central nervous system tumours constitute 25% of all childhood cancers; more than half are located in the posterior fossa and surgery is usually part of therapy. One of the most disabling late effects of posterior fossa tumour surgery is the cerebellar mutism syndrome (CMS) which has been reported in up to 39% of the patients but the exact incidence is uncertain since milder cases may be unrecognized. Recovery is usually incomplete. Reported risk factors are tumour type, midline location and brainstem involvement, but the exact aetiology, surgical and other risk factors, the clinical course and strategies for prevention and treatment are yet to be determined.

Methods: This observational, prospective, multicentre study will include 500 children with posterior fossa tumours. It opened late 2014 with participation from 20 Nordic and Baltic centres. From 2016, five British centres and four Dutch centres will join with a total annual accrual of 130 patients. Three other major European centres are invited to join from 2016/17. Follow-up will run for 12 months after inclusion of the last patient. All patients are treated according to local practice. Clinical data are collected through standardized online registration at pre-determined time points pre- and postoperatively. Neurological status and speech functions are examined pre-operatively and postoperatively at 1-4 weeks, 2 and 12 months. Pre- and postoperative speech samples are recorded and analysed. Imaging will be reviewed centrally. Pathology is classified according to the 2007 WHO system. Germline DNA will be collected from all patients for associations between CMS characteristics and host genome variants including pathway profiles.

Discussion: Through prospective and detailed collection of information on 1) differences in incidence and clinical course of CMS for different patient and tumour characteristics, 2) standardized surgical data and their association with CMS, 3) diversities and results of other therapeutic interventions, and 4) the role of host genome variants, we aim to achieve a better understanding of risk factors for and the clinical course of CMS - with the ultimate goal of defining strategies for prevention and treatment of this severely disabling condition.

Trial Registration: Clinicaltrials.gov : NCT02300766 , date of registration: November 21, 2014.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12885-017-3416-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5480181PMC
June 2017

Long-term cognitive sequelae after pediatric brain tumor related to medical risk factors, age, and sex.

Pediatr Neurol 2014 Oct 26;51(4):515-21. Epub 2014 Jun 26.

Department of Psychology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden; Department of Psychiatry, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.

Background: Young age at diagnosis and treatment with cranial radiation therapy are well studied risk factors for cognitive impairment in pediatric brain tumor survivors. Other risk factors are hydrocephalus, surgery complications, and treatment with intrathecal chemotherapy. Female gender vulnerability to cognitive sequelae after cancer treatment has been evident in some studies, but no earlier studies have related this to tumor size. The purpose of our study was to find factors correlated with lowered IQ in a nationally representative sample of pediatric brain tumor patients referred for neuropsychologic evaluation.

Methods: Sixty-nine pediatric brain tumor patients, diagnosed 1988-2005 and tested 1995-2006, were included in the study. In a series of stepwise multiple regressions, the relationship of IQ to disease, treatment, and individual variables (sex and syndromes) were evaluated. A subanalysis was made of the covariation between sex and tumor size.

Results: The patients had generally suppressed IQ and impairments in executive function, memory, and attention. Lowered IQ was associated with young age at diagnosis, being male, tumor size, and treatment with whole-brain radiation therapy. A sex difference was evident for patients with increased intracranial pressure at diagnosis with males having larger tumors. Tumor size was found to be a better predictor of cognitive sequelae than sex.

Conclusions: Whole-brain radiation therapy, large tumors, young age at diagnosis, and male gender are risk factors for late cognitive sequelae after pediatric brain tumors. When examining sex differences, tumor size at diagnosis needs to be taken into account.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2014.06.011DOI Listing
October 2014

Access to neuropsychologic services after pediatric brain tumor.

Pediatr Neurol 2013 Dec 2;49(6):420-3. Epub 2013 Oct 2.

Department of Psychology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden; Department of Pediatrics, Skåne University Hospital, Lund, Sweden. Electronic address:

Background: Increasing survival rates for children with brain tumors creates a greater need for neuropsychologic follow-up and intervention. The aim of this study was to evaluate rates of referral by medical doctors to neuropsychologic services and patient and treatment factors that differentiated referred and nonreferred patients.

Methods: Data were retrieved from medical records of all pediatric brain tumor patients in southern Sweden diagnosed between 1993 and 2004 who survived more than 1 year (n = 132). Characteristics of the patients, the cancer, and treatment received were then compared for patients who were and were not referred for neuropsychologic examination during that period.

Results: Sixty-four (48%) of the pediatric brain tumor patients were referred for neuropsychologic evaluation. These patients had significantly larger tumors, more recurrences of cancer, and increased intracranial pressure at diagnosis when compared with the nonreferred group (n = 68). However, most of the patients in the nonreferred group either had significant risk factors for cognitive impairment or were reporting impairments that would suggest a referral was warranted.

Conclusions: Given the high rates of cognitive impairment in children with brain tumors, referral to neuropsychologic services should be considered in all survivors. In addition to improving long-term adjustment, systematic referral can provide data on cognitive impairments, making it possible to evaluate different cancer treatment protocols not only in terms of survival but also in terms of quality of survival. Greater efforts are needed to disseminate and raise awareness about published guidelines on the long-term care of pediatric brain tumor patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2013.07.002DOI Listing
December 2013