Neuropsychological and language disorders in 12 children and adolescents with brain tumor

F. Bearzotti, A. Tavano, P. Pecile, M. Skrap, F. Fabbro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This work discusses the neuropsychological profile of 12 children and adolescents aged 4-15 years, affected with brain tumor (10 astrocytomas 4 of which located in the cerebellum, 4 in the cortex, 1 in the thalamus and 1 in the brainstem; 1 ganglioglioma in the left hippocampus; 1 pituitary craniopharyngioma) assessed before (TEST) and after (RETEST I at 1 month and RETEST II at 6 months) surgical resection of the tumor mass. Each patient received a battery of standardized tests to assess their cognitive, linguistic and neuropsychological development. Our findings show a marked recovery of neuropsychological and language functions in some cases, a partial recovery and persistence of marked deficits in others. These differences seem to be due to the following factors: 1) effects of surgery; 2) site of the tumor mass; 3) neural plasticity. Our findings show that surgery produces an improvement of the neuropsychological picture in most of the cases. The effect of surgery is different according to site of the lesion, with partial recovery when the tumor is located in the brain hemispheres, and a more favorable recovery when the tumor is located in the cerebellum. Last, the functional recovery in children aged 4-5 years seems slower and more effortful, while in older children neuropsychological deficits are limited but persistent over time. These data suggest a reduced neuronal plasticity in older children, possibly associated to neuronal sensitivity periods according to hemispheric specialization. In younger children, an assessment of neuronal plasticity may require a follow-up period longer than 5 years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-84
Number of pages16
JournalSAGGI - Child Development and Disabilities
Volume30
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2004

Keywords

  • Brain tumor
  • Children
  • Language disorders
  • Neuropsychological impairment
  • Posterior fossa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Rehabilitation
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

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