Neuropsychological rehabilitation for survivors of childhood and adolescent brain tumors: A view of the past and a vision for a promising future

Kellie J. Nazemi, Robert W. Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The neuropsychological sequelae associated with the diagnosis and treatment of a brain tumor in childhood or adolescence are well described. Providers in the oncology field have become more aware of these problems in recent years, and some treatment regimens are now aimed at limiting neurocognitive toxicity. Nevertheless, the likelihood of cure for many brain tumors is still relatively low and aggressive treatment courses often cannot be avoided. The neuropsychological side effects of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and even the tumor itself will remain difficult to avoid until tumor-directed therapy is improved in dramatic ways. After three decades of research and a multitude of published studies, the nature of these neurocognitive deficits and the associated risk factors are well-understood, but there is a paucity of research aimed at therapeutic interventions. This is the essential step that must be taken to translate our current understanding into improved quality of life for children who survive the underlying disease. Unfortunately, the current standard of care for treatment of these complex neurobehavioral deficits relies on a strained public school system. Recent advances and current approaches in treatment interventions for neuropsychological sequelae are reviewed in this article, including pharmacologic treatments, cognitive remediation derived from traumatic brain injury rehabilitation, and comprehensive school re-integration efforts. There is an acute need for further advances in this field, and a bright future of individualized school re-integration is within reach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-46
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 22 2011


  • Brain tumor
  • adolescent
  • chemotherapy
  • child
  • cognitive remediation
  • late effects
  • neurocognitive dysfunction
  • neuropsychologic sequelae
  • radiation therapy
  • school re-integration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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