Journal of Neuro-Oncology

, Volume 114, Issue 1, pp 93–100 | Cite as

Cognitive rehabilitation for early post-surgery inpatients affected by primary brain tumor: a randomized, controlled trial

  • Chiara Zucchella
  • Annarita Capone
  • Valentina Codella
  • Alessandro Marco De Nunzio
  • Carmine Vecchione
  • Giorgio Sandrini
  • Andrea Pace
  • Francesco Pierelli
  • Michelangelo Bartolo
Clinical Study


Cognitive impairment is one of the most common neurological disorders in neuro-oncological patients and exerts a deep negative impact on quality of life interfering with familiar, social and career-related activities. To test the effectiveness of early cognitive rehabilitation treatment for inpatients affected by primary brain tumors. Out of 109 consecutive patients enrolled in the study, 58 patients were randomly assigned to a rehabilitation group or to a control group. The rehabilitation consisted of 16 one-hour individual sessions of therapist-guided cognitive training, spread over 4 weeks, combining computer exercises and metacognitive training. Patients in the control group received usual care without cognitive training. All patients were evaluated by means of a comprehensive neuropsychological battery at the admission (T0) and after 4 weeks (T1). Patients in the rehabilitation group showed a significant improvement of cognitive functions. In particular, the domains that benefited most from the training were visual attention and verbal memory. The control group exhibited only a slightly, not statistically relevant, enhancement of cognitive performances. Cognitive rehabilitation for neuro-oncological inpatients resulted in a significant enhancement of cognitive performances after the training, also providing a foundation for early administration. Future research should be aimed to clarify the patients’ characteristics that predict neuropsychological improvement, to identify the most effective elements in rehabilitative programs and to study the effects of treatment extension to everyday life.


Neuropsychology Cognitive rehabilitation Brain tumors Quality of life Neuro-oncology 


Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chiara Zucchella
    • 1
    • 2
  • Annarita Capone
    • 1
  • Valentina Codella
    • 1
  • Alessandro Marco De Nunzio
    • 3
  • Carmine Vecchione
    • 4
    • 5
  • Giorgio Sandrini
    • 6
    • 7
  • Andrea Pace
    • 8
  • Francesco Pierelli
    • 1
    • 9
  • Michelangelo Bartolo
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Neurorehabilitation UnitIRCCS Neurological Mediterranean Institute NEUROMEDPozzilliItaly
  2. 2.Department of Brain and Behavioral SciencesUniversity of PaviaPaviaItaly
  3. 3.Neurorehabilitation UnitLaboratory of Multifactorial Biomechanics, IRCCS Neurological Mediterranean Institute NEUROMEDPozzilliItaly
  4. 4.Laboratory of Vascular Pathophysiology, IRCCS Neurological Mediterranean Institute NEUROMEDPozzilliItaly
  5. 5.Department of MedicineUniversity of SalernoBaronissiItaly
  6. 6.Neurorehabilitation UnitIRCCS National Neurological Institute C. Mondino FoundationPaviaItaly
  7. 7.Department of Neurological SciencesUniversity of PaviaPaviaItaly
  8. 8.Neurology UnitRegina Elena National Cancer InstituteRomeItaly
  9. 9.Department of Medical-Surgical Sciences and BiotechnologyUniversity of Rome “La Sapienza”LatinaItaly

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