Memory Functions in Children With Early Hydrocephalus

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Children with arrested, shunted, and no hydrocephalus were compared on verbal and nonverbal memory tasks assessing multiple components of memory. A gradient of severity was hypothesized, with the shunted hydrocephalus group expected to exhibit the most significant memory impairments and the arrested group expected to perform more poorly than children with no hydrocephalus. Etiologies of prematurity, spina bifida, and aqueductal stenosis were represented by 157 participants. Results supported the hypothesis; the shunted hydrocephalus group performed poorer on all memory measures. Differences for the arrested group were less frequently statistically significant relative to children with no hydrocephalus. Irrespective of etiology, the shunted hydrocephalus group exhibited a pattern of performance suggestive of encoding and retrieval deficits on both verbal and nonverbal tasks, showing a pervasive disturbance of memory processes.

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