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Cognitive, language, and school performance in children and young adults treated for low-grade astrocytoma in the posterior fossa in childhood
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  • Ingela Kristiansen,
  • Cristina Eklund,
  • Margareta Strinnholm,
  • Bo Strömberg,
  • Maria Törnhage,
  • Per Frisk
Ingela Kristiansen
Uppsala Universitet Medicinska fakulteten

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Cristina Eklund
Uppsala Universitet Medicinska fakulteten
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Margareta Strinnholm
Uppsala Universitet Medicinska fakulteten
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Bo Strömberg
Uppsala Universitet Medicinska fakulteten
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Maria Törnhage
Uppsala Universitet Medicinska fakulteten
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Per Frisk
Uppsala Universitet Medicinska fakulteten
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Abstract

Aim The aim of this study was to investigate if children treated for pilocytric astrocytoma in the posterior fossa had late complications affecting cognition, language and learning. Methods This descriptive single-centre study includes 8 children and 12 adults treated as children for pilocytic astrocytoma in the posterior fossa, with a mean follow-up time of 12.4 (range 5-19) years. Well-established tests of intelligence, executive, language and academic function were used. Results Intelligence tests showed average results compared with norms. Five patients scored <-1 SD (70-84) and 3 low average (85-92) on full scale IQ. The patients scored average on subtests regarding executive function, except for significantly lower results in inhibition/switching (p= 0.004). In Rey complex figure test half of the patients scored below – 1 SD. Language tests were normal except for significantly lower results in naming ability (p=0.049) and in inference (p=0.046). In academic tests, results were average, except for significantly lower results in reading speed (p=0.024). Patients with learning difficulties performed worse in the tests. Conclusions The patients functional outcome was favourable but, a not-negligible part of the patients displayed neurocognitive difficulties as revealed by extensive neuro-cognitive and academic testing. Thus it is important to identify those in need of more thorough cognitive and pedagogic follow-up programs, including school interventions.