Twenty‐six children with primary brain tumors were studied prospectively with regard to their sensorimotor, intellectual, academic, and emotional status. Serial evaluations were conducted after surgery (pre‐irradiation) and six months after the completion of radiation therapy. The timing of the second evaluation was chosen so as to antedate the late effects of irradiation. Children over 6 years old displayed significant improvement of intellectual function over time, with only 11% exhibiting deterioration on one or more cognitive parameters. In contrast, 68% of younger children clinically deteriorated in one or more areas of intellectual functioning, with prominent difficulties in memory and selective attention for age. Children under 6 years old with supratentorial tumors were less likely than those with posterior fossa tumors to improve their cognitive performance. At the second evaluation, 23% of the patients were functioning below normal (IQ < 80) intellectually, with 50% of the younger children and 11% of the older children receiving special educational assistance. Approximately 40–50% of the patients manifested emotional adjustment problems at each evaluation. The results are discussed in terms of the clinical need to follow similar patient populations with formal psychological assessments over time, and in terms of the difficulties involved in defining factors that determine the functional status of children surviving brain tumors.
- brain tumor
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Cancer Research