Cognitive rehabilitation ‘can aid patients with brain tumour-related epilepsy’

Posted Sep 17 2015 in Brain science; genetics

Patients with brain tumour-related epilepsy and cognitive disturbances could benefit from cognitive rehabilitation training, according to a new study.

Conducted by Italy’s Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, the pilot observational study examined the potential positive impact of this type of intervention among a total of 100 adult patients with symptomatic seizures due to primary brain tumours or brain metastases who were receiving stable treatment with antiepileptic drugs.

Each of the patients had undergone a previous surgical resection or biopsy and had been able to stabilise their cancer. They were given a series of neuropsychological tests exploring their cognitive performance in various ways to test whether they had neuropsychological deficits, with 30 individuals considered to fall into this category.

The cognitive rehabilitation training programme consisted of one hour-long individual session carried out by a trained psychologist each week for ten weeks. It focused on helping to improve patients’ memories, attention, visuospatial functions, language and reasoning using a software programme called Training NeuroPsicologico.

Following this intervention, the same series of neuropsychological tests conducted at the start was administered directly after cognitive rehabilitation and after six months.

According to results published in the Journal of Neuro-oncology, short-term verbal memory, episodic memory, fluency and long-term visuospatial memory all improved immediately after the training and remained stable after six months.

Moreover, in the final follow-up analysis, all patients showed an improvement in at least one area of their cognitive functioning that had been lower than normal at the outset.

The researchers concluded: “Our results demonstrated a positive effect of rehabilitative training at different times, and, for these reasons, should encourage future research in this area with large, randomised clinical trials that evaluate the impact of a cognitive rehabilitation in patients with brain tumour-related epilepsy  and cognitive deficits.”

Posted by Anne Brown

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