A Prospective Examination of Neurocognitive Functioning in Pediatric Brain Tumor Patients
Fraley, Claire E.
Deficits in neurocognitive functioning are the most commonly reported adverse late effect in children diagnosed with brain tumors. However, few studies have examined this decline in functioning prospectively. The aim of this study is to validate the acceptability, feasibility, and initial proof of concept of a protocol designed to assess pediatric brain tumor patient’s neurocognitive functioning prior to surgery and longitudinally over time. Thirty-three children (aged five months – 16 years) with heterogeneous tumor diagnoses were enrolled in the study. Neurocognitive tests were administered prior to surgery, one month post-surgery, and six months post-surgery. Despite significant differences from healthy peers, brain tumor participants’ level of functioning did not change significantly between the three time points. This is the first study to document pediatric brain tumor patients’ neurocognitive functioning prior to surgery and to successfully retain participants to determine change over time. Expansion of this study will provide insight into the nature of change of neurocognitive functioning in children diagnosed with brain tumors and will illuminate variables that are associated with change.