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Bone Marrow Transplant. 2008 Jan;41(1):79-90. Epub 2007 Oct 15.

Rehabilitation of therapy-related cognitive deficits in patients after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.

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  • 1Institute for Rehabilitation Research, Tumor Biology Center, Freiburg, Germany.


Neuropsychological deficits are potential side effects of hematopoietic stem cell therapy (HSCT). Systematic data on the long-term course of and therapeutic options for these consequences are limited. One hundred fifty-seven patients were screened for cognitive deficits following HSCT for malignant diseases at an in-patient oncologic rehabilitation clinic. Patients showing evidence of impairment were randomly assigned to one of two training groups: individualized PC-supported training or neuropsychological group therapy. The control group consisted of patients who received no specific training. During in-patient rehabilitation, the results of a comprehensive neuropsychological test battery improved significantly in all three groups, and no specific intervention effects were identified. Neuropsychological deficits were still evident in a subgroup of patients 6 months later. Correlation between neuropsychological testing and patients' self-evaluation of cognitive functioning in daily life was generally low. Sustained attention and verbal-semantic memory played the main role for self-appraisal and in the designation as 'neuropsychologically impaired'. In conclusion, a substantial number of patients revealed evidence of cognitive deficits a long time after HSCT. There is a need for more studies and for the development of differentiated rehabilitative measures for such therapeutic consequences.

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