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Brain. 2000 May;123 ( Pt 5):1041-50.

Neuropsychological consequences of cerebellar tumour resection in children: cerebellar cognitive affective syndrome in a paediatric population.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Abstract

Acquired cerebellar lesions in adults have been shown to produce impairments in higher function as exemplified by the cerebellar cognitive affective syndrome. It is not yet known whether similar findings occur in children with acquired cerebellar lesions, and whether developmental factors influence their presentation. In studies to date, survivors of childhood cerebellar tumours who demonstrate long-term deficits in cognitive functions have undergone surgery as well as cranial irradiation or methotrexate treatment. Investigation of the effects of the cerebellar lesion independent of the known deleterious effects of these agents is important for understanding the role of the cerebellum in cognitive and affective development and for informing treatment and rehabilitation strategies. If the cerebellar contribution to cognition and affect is significant, then damage in childhood may influence a wide range of psychological processes, both as an immediate consequence and as these processes fail to develop normally later on. In this study we evaluated neuropsychological data in 19 children who underwent resection of cerebellar tumours but who received neither cranial irradiation nor methotrexate chemotherapy. Impairments were noted in executive function, including planning and sequencing, and in visual-spatial function, expressive language, verbal memory and modulation of affect. These deficits were common and in some cases could be dissociated from motor deficits. Lesions of the vermis in particular were associated with dysregulation of affect. Behavioural deficits were more apparent in older than younger children. These results reveal that clinically relevant neuropsychological changes may occur following cerebellar tumour resection in children. Age at the time of surgery and the site of the cerebellar lesion influence the neurobehavioural outcome. The results of the present study indicate that the cerebellar cognitive affective syndrome is evident in children as well as in adults, and they provide further clinical evidence that the cerebellum is an essential node in the distributed neural circuitry subserving higher-order behaviours.

PMID:
10775548
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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