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Neurological predictor scale is associated with academic achievement outcomes in long-term survivors of childhood brain tumors

  • Rella J. Kautiainen
  • Sabrina D. Na
  • Tricia Z. KingEmail author
Clinical Study

Abstract

Introduction

Survivors of childhood brain tumors exhibit impairments in academic performance and have lower rates of educational attainment compared to healthy same-aged peers. Prior research has demonstrated the concurrent validity of the Neurological Predictor Scale (NPS), a measure that incorporates tumor-related treatments and complications into one cumulative score, in predicting IQ, adaptive functioning, and core neurocognitive skills. The purpose of this study is to determine whether the NPS predicts academic achievement outcomes over and above the effects of individual treatment factors alone.

Methods

Sixty-two adult survivors completed four untimed measures of academic achievement from the Woodcock–Johnson III.

Results

NPS scores significantly predicted performance on all four academic measures: Letter Word ID (R2 = − 0.454, p < .01), Calculation (R2 = − 0.494, p < .01), Spelling (R2 = − 0.428, p < .01) and Passage Comprehension (R2 = − 0.447, p < .01). 16% of survivors were impaired on the Letter Word ID, 23% on Calculation, 19% on Spelling, and 11% on Passage Comprehension subtests with impairment defined as z ≤ − 1.5. The NPS predicted academic outcomes over and above chemotherapy, surgery, seizure medication, endocrine dysfunction, hydrocephalus, and radiation on all measures.

Conclusion

This study extends prior research by demonstrating that the NPS is significantly associated with academic achievement in survivors on average 15.9 years after diagnosis. The NPS may be especially helpful in clinical research when studies lack the statistical power to investigate how treatments and neurological conditions individually contribute to outcomes.

Keywords

Academic achievement Neuropsychological assessment Cancer Pediatrics Neurological complications Treatment 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We are grateful to all the individuals and families who participated in this study, as this research would not be possible without their time and effort. We would like to acknowledge the Brain Tumor Foundation for helping share information about this clinical research opportunity with long-term brain tumor survivors. Additionally, we thank the Developmental Neuropsychology Across the Lifespan Research Team for assistance with data acquisition and management. This research was supported by a Research Scholar Grant from the American Cancer Society to TZK (#RSGPB-CPPB-114044). RK was supported by a doctoral fellowship provided by the Georgia State University Second Century Neurogenomics Initiative.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11060_2018_3084_MOESM1_ESM.docx (14 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 14 KB)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyGeorgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychology and the Neuroscience InstituteGeorgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA

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