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Patterns of intellectual development among survivors of pediatric medulloblastoma: a longitudinal analysis

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Palmer, S. L.; Goloubeva, O.; Reddick, W. E.; Glass, J. O.; Gajjar, A.; Kun, L.; Merchant, T. E.; Mulhern, R. K.

PURPOSE: To examine two competing hypotheses relating to intellectual loss among children treated for medulloblastoma (MB): Children with MB either: (1) lose previously learned skills and information; or (2) acquire new skills and information but at a rate slower than expected compared with healthy same-age peers. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Forty-four pediatric MB patients were evaluated who were treated with postoperative radiation therapy (XRT) with or without chemotherapy. After completion of XRT, a total of 150 examinations were conducted by use of the child version of the Wechsler Intelligence SCALES: These evaluations provided a measure of intellectual functioning called the estimated full-scale intelligence quotient (FSIQ). Changes in patient performance corrected for age (scaled scores) as well as the uncorrected performance (raw scores) were analyzed. RESULTS: At the time of the most recent examination, the obtained mean estimated FSIQ of 83.57 was more than one SD below expected population norms. A significant decline in cognitive performance during the time since XRT was demonstrated, with a mean loss of 2.55 estimated FSIQ points per year (P =.0001). An analysis for the basis of the intelligence quotient (IQ) loss revealed that subtest raw score values increased significantly over time since XRT, but the rate of increase was less than normally expected, which resulted in decreased IQ scores. CONCLUSION: These results support the hypothesis that MB patients demonstrate a decline in IQ values because of an inability to acquire new skills and information at a rate comparable to their healthy same- age peers, as opposed to a loss of previously acquired information and skills.

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