Late Cognitive Effects of Therapy

Last Modified: March 15, 2006

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Question

Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

My stepdaughter received treatment for leukemia at 9 months old. She is now in 4th grade, and as you might imagine, the cognitive late effects are significant. She is about to have a Neuro-Psychiatric evaluation by R. Butler at OHSU. What do you think of Cognitive Remediation?

Answer

Anna Meadows, MD, Pediatric Oncologist at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and Director of the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania's Survivorship Research Program, responds:

Dr. Butler is one of the psychologists working to assist children who have been affected by leukemia treatment given early in life. It is worthwhile being evaluated by him or one of his collaborators. We and others have found that in some circumstances, cognitive remediation (a therapy that helps people to develop thinking skills that make the most of their undamaged thinking abilities in order to balance their deficits) offers hope for improvement in learning ability, but it is by no means perfect. Sometimes a variety of approaches works better, but it is necessary to evaluate each child individually, since there may be special ways to offer assistance based on the specific results of testing.



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