Publications by authors named "Kellie N Clark"

8 Publications

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Social Functioning of Childhood Cancer Survivors after Computerized Cognitive Training: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

Children (Basel) 2019 Sep 27;6(10). Epub 2019 Sep 27.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN 38105, USA.

Childhood cancer survivors are at risk for cognitive and social deficits. Previous findings indicate computerized cognitive training can result in an improvement of cognitive skills. The current objective was to investigate whether these cognitive gains generalize to social functioning benefits. Sixty-eight survivors of childhood cancer were randomly assigned to a computerized cognitive intervention (mean age 12.21 ± 2.47 years, 4.97 ± 3.02 years off-treatment) or waitlist control group (mean age 11.82 ± 2.42 years, 5.04 ± 2.41 years off-treatment). Conners 3 Parent and Self-Report forms were completed pre-intervention, immediately post-intervention and six-months post-intervention. Piecewise linear mixed-effects models indicated no significant differences in Peer Relations between groups at baseline and no difference in change between groups from pre- to immediate post-intervention or post- to six-months post-intervention ( > 0.40). Baseline Family Relations problems were significantly elevated in the control group relative to the intervention group ( < 0.01), with a significantly greater decline from pre- to immediate post-intervention ( < 0.05) and no difference in change between groups from post- to six-months post-intervention ( > 0.80). The study results suggest cognitive gains from computerized training do not generalize to social functioning. Training focused on skill-based social processing (e.g., affect recognition) may be more efficacious.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/children6100105DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6826733PMC
September 2019

Returning research results: caregivers' reactions following computerized cognitive training among childhood cancer survivors.

Neurooncol Pract 2018 Aug 19;5(3):194-200. Epub 2017 Nov 19.

Department of Psychology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis TN, USA.

Background: Few researchers routinely disseminate results to participants; however, there is increasing acknowledgment that benefits of returning results outweigh potential risks. Our objective was to determine whether use of specific guidelines developed by the Children's Oncology Group (COG) when preparing a lay summary would aid in understanding results. Specifically, to determine if caregivers of childhood cancer survivors found a lay summary comprehensive, easy to understand, and helpful following participation in a computerized cognitive training program.

Methods: In a previous study, 68 childhood survivors of acute lymphoblastic leukemia or brain tumor with identified cognitive deficits were randomly assigned to participate in a computerized cognitive intervention or assigned to a wait list. Following conclusion of this study, participants' caregivers were contacted and provided with a summary of results based on COG guidelines and survey. Forty-three participants returned the surveys, examining caregivers' interpretation of the summary, reaction to the results, and information regarding preference for receiving results.

Results: Caregivers reported results as important (93%), helpful (93%), easy to understand (98%), and relevant to their child (91%). They interpreted the results as generally positive, with many caregivers endorsing satisfaction (84%); however, concern of long-term implications was expressed (25%). Most preferred receiving results through postal letter (88%) or email (47%).

Conclusions: Benefits of returning research results to families appear to outweigh potential negative consequences. Returning results may help inform families when making future health care-related decisions. There is a great need to develop and assess the utility of guidelines for returning research results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nop/npx029DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6075540PMC
August 2018

Disseminability of computerized cognitive training: Performance across coaches.

Appl Neuropsychol Child 2019 Apr-Jun;8(2):113-122. Epub 2017 Nov 21.

b Department of Psychology , St. Jude Children's Research Hospital , Memphis , Tennessee.

Cogmed is a computerized cognitive intervention utilizing coaches who receive standardized instruction in analyzing training indices and tailoring feedback to remotely monitor participant's performance. The goal of this study was to examine adherence, satisfaction, and efficacy of Cogmed across coaches. Survivors of pediatric brain tumors and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (N = 68) were randomized to intervention (Cogmed) or waitlist control. The intervention group was matched with one of two coaches. Cognitive assessments were completed before and after intervention, and participants and caregivers in the intervention group completed satisfaction surveys. T-tests showed no differences in adherence across coaches (number of sessions completed p = .38; d = .32). Noninferiority statistics were not consistently equivalent for satisfaction, but equivalence was supported for caregiver perceptions of pragmatic utility and participant perceptions of logistical ease of Cogmed. Equivalence was not consistently suggested for cognitive outcomes, but was supported on measures tapping relevant cognitive domains (attention, working memory, processing speed, academic fluency). This study suggests adherence can be maintained across coaches. While aspects of satisfaction and cognitive outcomes were equivalent, the possible influence of coach-based variables cannot be ruled out. Findings highlight challenges in standardizing the coaching component of multicomponent computerized interventions and the need for ongoing research to establish dessiminability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21622965.2017.1394853DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5962364PMC
September 2019

Long-Term Efficacy of Computerized Cognitive Training Among Survivors of Childhood Cancer: A Single-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial.

J Pediatr Psychol 2017 Mar;42(2):220-231

Department of Biostatistics, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN, USA.

Objective: To investigate the long-term efficacy of computerized cognitive training in improving cognitive outcomes among childhood cancer survivors.

Methods: Sixty-eight survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) or brain tumor (BT) were randomly assigned to computerized cognitive intervention (23 ALL/11 BT, age = 12.21 ± 2.47) or a waitlist control group (24 ALL/10 BT, age = 11.82 ± 2.42). Cognitive assessments were completed pre-, immediately post-, and 6 months postintervention.

Results: A prior report showed training led to immediate improvement in working memory, attention and processing speed. In the current study, piecewise linear mixed effects modeling revealed that working memory and processing speed were unchanged from immediate to 6 months postintervention (intervention β  = -.04 to .01, p = .26 to .95; control β  = -.06 to .01, p = .23-.97), but group differences on an attention measure did not persist.

Conclusion: Cognitive benefits are maintained 6 months following computerized cognitive training, adding to potential clinical utility of this intervention approach.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jpepsy/jsw057DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5896595PMC
March 2017

Cognitive outcomes among survivors of focal low-grade brainstem tumors diagnosed in childhood.

J Neurooncol 2016 09 16;129(2):311-7. Epub 2016 Jun 16.

Department of Psychology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Mail Stop #740, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN, 38105, USA.

Pediatric focal low-grade brainstem tumors are associated with excellent prognosis. Surgical resection and conformal radiation therapy are front-line treatment options; radiation therapy (RT) serves as an excellent treatment for disease progression. Given high survival rates and limited research regarding functional outcomes, the current study examined neurocognitive outcomes in a group of low-grade brainstem glioma survivors. Forty-three survivors of focal low-grade brainstem gliomas underwent neurocognitive assessment (58 % male; median = 6.9 years at diagnosis; median = 14.9 years at latest assessment). Treatment included combinations of surgery, chemotherapy, and RT with 70 % ultimately receiving RT. Neurocognitive outcomes were evaluated through retrospective chart review. Intellectual and academic performance were significantly different from normative expectations (full scale IQ = 86.5 ± 16.8; reading comprehension = 91.3 ± 16.4; math reasoning = 88.2 ± 18.9; reference group = 100 ± 15). Further, the percentage performing below average exceeded the expected 16 % in the normative sample (full scale IQ = 43 %; reading comprehension = 37 %; math reasoning = 50 %). Mean parent ratings did not reflect concerns regarding internalizing and externalizing behaviors or executive functioning (internalizing = 54.9 ± 12.7; externalizing = 51.6 ± 14.6, global executive composite = 57.1 ± 16.0; reference group = 50 ± 10); however, the proportion with clinically elevated scores was higher than the expected 16 % (internalizing = 42 %; externalizing = 26 %; global executive composite = 38 %). Mean performance fell below average for visual-motor coordination (81.8 ± 13.2) and parent ratings of adaptive functioning (73.4 ± 24.2), with 65 and 62 % falling outside the average range, respectively. There were no significant differences between those receiving and not receiving RT. Multiple cognitive domains were significantly different from normative expectations. Despite focal disease and treatment targeting subcortical brain regions, neurocognitive risks exist that may impact treatment planning and caregiver education.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-016-2176-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4992422PMC
September 2016

Feasibility and acceptability of a remotely administered computerized intervention to address cognitive late effects among childhood cancer survivors.

Neurooncol Pract 2015 Jun 13;2(2):78-87. Epub 2015 Mar 13.

Department of Psychology , St Jude Children's Research Hospital , Memphis, Tennessee (L.E.C., J.M.A., K.N.C., K.M-E., V.W.W., H.M.C.); Division of Radiation Oncology , St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee (T.E.M.); Division of Translational Imaging Research , St Jude Children's Research Hospital , Memphis, Tennessee (R.J.O.); Department of Oncology , St Jude Children's Research Hospital , Memphis, Tennessee (S.J.); Department of Biostatistics , St Jude Children's Research Hospital , Memphis, Tennessee (L.H., H.Z.); Center for Neuroscience and Behavioral Medicine , Neuropsychology Division, Children's National Medical Center , Washington, DC (K.K.H.); Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science , George Washington University School of Medicine , Washington, DC (K.K.H).

Background: Childhood cancer survivors frequently develop working memory (WM) deficits as a result of disease and treatment. Medication-based and therapist-delivered interventions are promising but have limitations. Computerized interventions completed at home may be more appealing for survivors. We evaluated the feasibility and acceptability of a remotely administered, computerized WM intervention (Cogmed) for pediatric cancer survivors using a single-blind, randomized, wait-list control design.

Methods: Of 80 qualifying patients, 12 were excluded or declined to participate. Participants randomized to intervention ( = 34/68) included survivors of childhood brain tumors (32%) or acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL; 68%) between the ages of 8 and 16 years ([Formula: see text] = 12.2) who were at least 1 year post therapy ([Formula: see text] = 5.0). The majority of brain tumor participants were treated with cranial radiation therapy (72.7%), whereas most of the ALL participants were treated with chemotherapy only (87%). Participants completed 25 WM training sessions over 5-9 weeks at home with weekly phone-based coaching.

Results: Participants lived in 16 states. Compliance was strong, with 30 of the 34 participants (88%) completing intervention. Almost all participants completed pre- and postintervention neuroimaging exams (91% and 93%, respectively). Families had the necessary skills to utilize the computer program successfully. Caregivers reported they were generally able to find time to complete training (63%), viewed training as beneficial (70%), and would recommend this intervention to others (93%).

Conclusions: Cogmed is a feasible and acceptable intervention for childhood cancer survivors. It is a viable option for survivors who do not live in close proximity to cancer care centers. Efficacy and neural correlates of change are currently being evaluated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nop/npu036DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4820841PMC
June 2015

Computerized Cognitive Training for Amelioration of Cognitive Late Effects Among Childhood Cancer Survivors: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

J Clin Oncol 2015 Nov 12;33(33):3894-902. Epub 2015 Oct 12.

Heather M. Conklin, Robert J. Ogg, Jason M. Ashford, Matthew A. Scoggins, Ping Zou, Kellie N. Clark, Karen Martin-Elbahesh, Thomas E. Merchant, Sima Jeha, Lu Huang, and Hui Zhang, St Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN; and Kristina K. Hardy, Children's National Medical Center and George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC.

Purpose: Children receiving CNS-directed therapy for cancer are at risk for cognitive problems, with few available empirically supported interventions. Cognitive problems indicate neurodevelopmental disruption that may be modifiable with intervention. This study evaluated short-term efficacy of a computerized cognitive training program and neural correlates of cognitive change.

Patient And Methods: A total of 68 survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) or brain tumor (BT) with identified cognitive deficits were randomly assigned to computerized cognitive intervention (male, n = 18; female, n = 16; ALL, n = 23; BT, n = 11; mean age ± standard deviation, 12.21 ± 2.47 years) or waitlist (male, n = 18; female, n = 16; ALL, n = 24; BT, n = 10; median age ± standard deviation, 11.82 ± 2.42 years). Intervention participants were asked to complete 25 training sessions at home with weekly, telephone-based coaching. Cognitive assessments and functional magnetic resonance imaging scans (intervention group) were completed pre- and postintervention, with immediate change in spatial span backward as the primary outcome.

Results: Survivors completing the intervention (n = 30; 88%) demonstrated greater improvement than controls on measures of working memory (mean ± SEM; eg, Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children [fourth edition; WISC-IV] spatial span backward, 3.13 ± 0.58 v 0.75 ± 0.43; P = .002; effect size [ES], 0.84), attention (eg, WISC-IV spatial span forward, 3.30 ± 0.71 v 1.25 ± 0.39; P = .01; ES, 0.65), and processing speed (eg, Conners' Continuous Performance Test hit reaction time, -2.10 ± 1.47 v 2.54 ± 1.25; P = .02; ES, .61) and showed greater reductions in reported executive dysfunction (eg, Conners' Parent Rating Scale III, -6.73 ± 1.51 v 0.41 ± 1.53; P = .002; ES, 0.84). Functional magnetic resonance imaging revealed significant pre- to post-training reduction in activation of left lateral prefrontal and bilateral medial frontal areas.

Conclusion: Study findings show computerized cognitive training is feasible and efficacious for childhood cancer survivors, with evidence for training-related neuroplasticity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2015.61.6672DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4652013PMC
November 2015

Adaptive functioning of childhood brain tumor survivors following conformal radiation therapy.

J Neurooncol 2014 May;118(1):193-9

Adaptive functioning is not often examined in childhood brain tumor (BT) survivors, with the few existing investigations relying on examiner interviews. Parent questionnaires may provide similar information with decreased burden. The purpose of this study was: (1) to examine adaptive behaviors in BT survivors relative to healthy peer and cancer survivor groups, and (2) to explore the validity of a parent questionnaire in relation to an examiner administered interview. Participants (age 13.11 ± 2.98 years) were BT survivors treated with conformal radiation therapy (n = 50), healthy siblings of BT survivors (n = 39) and solid tumor (ST) survivors who did not receive CNS-directed therapy (n = 40). Parents completed the Adaptive Behavior Assessment System–2nd Edition (ABAS-II). For a subset of the BT cohort (n = 32), examiners interviewed the parents using the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales (VABS) within 12 months. Groups differed significantly on each of the ABAS-II indices and the general adaptive composite, with the BT group scoring lower than the sibling and ST groups across indices. Executive functioning, but not IQ, was associated with adaptive skills; no clear pattern of clinical and demographic predictors was established. VABS scores were correlated with ABAS-II scores on nearly all indices. BT survivors showed significantly lower adaptive functioning when compared to healthy and cancer controls. The ABAS-II proved sensitive to these behavioral limitations and was consistent with scores on the VABS. The use of a parent questionnaire to assess adaptive functioning enhances survivorship investigations by increasing flexibility of assessment and decreasing examiner burden.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-014-1420-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4069234PMC
May 2014