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August 10th, 2009
Recent Study Spotlights Negative Cognitive Effects of Brain Tumor Radiation

A new study has discovered that low dose radiation treatment for low-grade brain tumors can generate a continuous decline in cognitive functioning.

Treatment solutions for the most common kinds of brain tumors – low-grade gliomas, is radiation.

Netherlands researchers in an attempt to evaluate cognitive abilities, focussed on 65 people, roughly 12 years post treatment for low-grade gliomas, of the 65 patients, half of them underwent radiation.  The evaluation focussed in on attention, executive functioning, verbal memory, working memory, psychomotor skills, and information processing speed.

As a result, 53 percent who underwent radiation therapy and 27 percent who underwent other modes of therapy, displayed cognitive disability.  Consequently, people who belong to the radiation group displayed poorer attention, executive functioning and information-processing speed.

The results as documented by Linda Douw, of the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, reveal “[that the] results indicate that radiotherapy is associated with long-term cognitive deterioration, regardless of fraction dose … all surviving patients who had radiotherapy are at risk of developing attentional problems,” not just surviving patients who have undergone high-level radiation therapy.

The research displayed a call-to-action regarding the implementation of radiation therapy in patients suffering from low-grade gliomas.  They suggest suspension of treatment in an attempt to maintain cognitive status and quality of life.


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