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Open AccessArticle

Cognitive and Psychosocial Development in Young Children with Brain Tumors: Observations from a Clinical Sample

1
Department of Psychology, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105, USA
2
Department of Psychology, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN 38152, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
All work was conducted while authors were employed at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. However, currently, Ansley Kenney is a research associate in the Center for Biobehavioral Health, The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH and Andrew Molnar is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, TN.
Children 2019, 6(11), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/children6110128
Received: 25 September 2019 / Revised: 31 October 2019 / Accepted: 11 November 2019 / Published: 19 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychosocial Functioning in Childhood Cancer)
Survivors of pediatric brain tumor (BT) are known to be at risk for developing cognitive and psychosocial late effects. Young age at treatment (≤6 years) is typically considered to put patients at increased risk. However, there is limited research specifically exploring functioning in these young patients. Cognitive and psychosocial data were retrospectively abstracted from medical charts for 79 young patients (54.4% male) treated for BT with a variety of treatment modalities (e.g., surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy). Children were clinically assessed at 4.52 years of age (range = 1.48–5.98) and most were off-therapy (74.4%). Mean performances on developmental (68.3 ± 10.02), cognitive (88.09 ± 18.38), and pre-academic (86.84 ± 19.75) measures were all below average. Parent report of adaptive functioning was also below average (82.10 ± 16.21), but psychosocial functioning was generally within normal limits. Most patients had impaired functioning (scores <10th percentile) in at least one domain assessed. Exploratory analyses revealed that many patients (27.3–60.6%) exhibited a significant discrepancy between domains of cognitive functioning (e.g., verbal and spatial). Young children treated for BT experienced high rates of impairment in cognitive, pre-academic, and adaptive domains. Future work is needed to focus on serial longitudinal assessment of these young patients, as well as dedicated intervention and prevention efforts. View Full-Text
Keywords: pediatric brain tumor; young children; cognitive functioning; psychosocial functioning; early childhood; childhood cancer pediatric brain tumor; young children; cognitive functioning; psychosocial functioning; early childhood; childhood cancer
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Jurbergs, N.; Harman, J.L.; Kenney, A.E.; Semenkovich, K.; Molnar, A.E., Jr.; Willard, V.W. Cognitive and Psychosocial Development in Young Children with Brain Tumors: Observations from a Clinical Sample. Children 2019, 6, 128.

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