Screening for cognitive deficits in 8 to 14-year old children with cerebellar tumors using self-report measures of executive and behavioral functioning and health-related quality of life

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Abstract

Background

We aimed to identify a brief screening measure for detection of cognitive deficit in children treated for cerebellar tumors that would be useful in clinical practice.

Methods

A sample of 72 children, aged 8–14 years, and within 3 years post diagnosis for standard-risk medulloblastoma (n = 37) or low-grade cerebellar astrocytoma (n = 35) and 38 children in a nontumor group were assessed using teacher-, parent-, and child-report of the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF), Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), and Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory (PedsQL). The accuracy of these scores as a screen for a full-scale Intelligence Quotient (FSIQ) < 80 on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-IV UK) was assessed using their receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves.

Results

The questionnaires with the highest areas under the ROC curves were the child- and parent-report PedsQL, the teacher-report BRIEF, and the SDQ. At optimal cutoff scores, their sensitivities (95% CIs) to cases of FSIQ < 80 were 84 (60–96)%, 65 (41–84)%, 79 (54–93)%, and 84 (60–96)%, and their specificities (95% CIs) were 79 (68–86)%, 87 (77–93)%, 77 (66–86)%, and 71 (64–84)% respectively. All cases of FSIQ < 80 screened positive on either teacher-report SDQ or self-report PedsQL.

Conclusions

The PedsQL child- and parent-report and the teacher-report BRIEF and SDQ have moderately good accuracy for discriminating between children with and without a FSIQ < 80. The PedsQL could be used in a clinical setting, and the BRIEF and SDQ in an educational setting, to screen for cases with FSIQ < 80 in children treated for brain tumors.

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