Processing speed in children treated for brain tumors: effects of radiation therapy and age

Lisa A. Jacobson, E. Mark Mahone, Keith O. Yeates, M. Douglas Ris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The current study examined processing speed in children two years post-treatment for brain tumors (BT) with radiation therapy (RT) compared to those treated with without RT. Participants included 59 children (4–17 years) with BT assessed as part of the Brain Radiation Investigative Study Consortium (BRISC). Processing speed was assessed at two time points: Time1 (3–9 months post-surgery) for 26 children who received whole brain or focal RT (RT group) and 33 treated without RT (no-RT group), and again two years later (Time2) for 42 participants (17 RT, 25 no-RT). Linear mixed effects (LME) regression analyses examined differences in cognitive and motor speed between groups and across visits, with age at Time1 (age1) treated as a moderating variable, and sex and primary tumor size as covariates. No effects for treatment group or visit were found for motor speed (Pegboard) or mean reaction time (Attention Network Task). On the Wechsler Processing Speed Index (PSI), the no-RT group performed better than the RT group, with a group-by-age interaction such that across visits, the difference between the no-RT and RT groups was larger among children who were older at initial treatment (≥10 years) than among those who were younger (<10 years). Cumulative brain injury earlier in life (tumor, surgery, plus RT) may result in greater impact on more complex tasks of cognitive efficiency. Children receiving RT showed reduced processing speed over time, with a larger group difference among those who were over 10 years at treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-231
Number of pages15
JournalChild Neuropsychology
Volume25
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 17 2019

Keywords

  • brain injury
  • cancer
  • child development
  • neoplasms
  • pediatric assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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