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August 1992

Neurophysiological Basis of Cognitive Deficits in Long-term Survivors of Childhood Cancer

Author Affiliations

Bernadette Levy
From the Division of Pediatrics, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston.

Arch Neurol. 1992;49(8):809-817. doi:10.1001/archneur.1992.00530320033009

• Thirty-three survivors of childhood cancer were tested with event-related potentials (P300), motor reaction time tests, and neuropsychological tests to assess the underlying physiological basis of treatment-related cognitive sequelae. Thirteen patients had received intrathecal chemotherapy, 11 had received intrathecal chemotherapy plus cranial radiotherapy, and nine had been treated without any form of central nervous system therapy. Neuropsychological performance of the groups treated without cranial radiotherapy was normal, but the group given cranial radiotherapy was significantly impaired. Mean reaction time and P300 latency were somewhat slower in the group given intrathecal chemotherapy relative to the group given no central nervous system treatment, but were significantly delayed in the group given cranial radiotherapy. Correlations of reaction time and P300 latency with neuropsychological test scores were also obtained. Results suggest that slowing of cortical activity secondary to white-matter damage may underlie cognitive decline in children treated with intensive central nervous system therapies, especially cranial radiotherapy.

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