A Multicenter, Randomized Clinical Trial of a Cognitive Remediation Program for Childhood Survivors of a Pediatric Malignancy

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Abstract

Survivors of childhood cancer whose malignancy and/or treatment involved the central nervous system may demonstrate a consistent pattern of neurocognitive deficits. The present study evaluated a randomized clinical trial of the Cognitive Remediation Program (CRP). Participants were 6- to 17-year-old survivors of childhood cancer (N = 161; 35% female, 18% Hispanic, 10% African American, 64% Caucasian, 8% other) who were at least 1 year off treatment and who manifested an attentional deficit. They were enrolled at 7 sites nationwide. Two thirds of the participants were randomly assigned to cognitive remediation. All participants were assessed using a battery of academic achievement/neurocognitive tests and parent/teacher measures of attention. The CRP resulted in parent report of improved attention and statistically significant increases in academic achievement. Effect sizes were modest but were comparable with those for other clinical trials of brain injury rehabilitation and for psychological interventions in general. The CRP is presented as a potentially beneficial treatment for many survivors of pediatric cancer. Long-term clinical significance remains unproven. Further work is needed to improve effect sizes and treatment compliance and to address the needs of other populations with pediatric brain injury.

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