Cognitive function returns after radiation

Nov. 15, 2005 at 5:17 PM
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ROCHESTER, Minn., Nov. 15 (UPI) -- Patients who suffer from low-grade brain tumors are reportedly able to regain normal cognitive function after receiving radiation therapy, U.S. researchers say.

Mayo Clinic researchers said the 20 patients studied were submitted to a battery of intensive cognitive tests measuring intelligence, memory, learning and attention span to establish a baseline score.

Following radiation therapy, the patients were re-evaluated at 18-month intervals during the next five years. While the baseline test results were considered below average compared with age-specific norms, the first test after receiving radiation showed an increase in the group's overall score.

"These results suggest that the patients with brain tumors perform below average on these tests before radiation therapy because the tumor itself affects their cognitive skills," said Dr. Paul Brown, co-author of the study and a radiation oncologist. "After the radiation, the brain function of the patients in the study went back to ... normal, pre-tumor levels and stayed there for five years.

"This shows that a moderate dose of radiation, using modern techniques, does not cause cognitive injury in brain tumor patients," he added.

The study is detailed in the Nov. 15 issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics.

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