Date: 29 Jun 2009

Neurological Complications in Children

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Introduction

With advances in surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, the long-term survival of children with primary brain tumors has improved markedly. Today, the prognosis for children with brain tumors is inherently better than for adults, and has resulted in a growing population of adult survivors.1 As a result, neurological complications of this cohort are an increasing problem in the daily practice of neurologists, oncologists, and primary care physicians.

Unlike other organ systems, the central nervous system manifests toxicity from the tumor and its therapy in a unique manner. Even though the developing brain is more tolerant to surgical effects due to inherent plasticity, both chemotherapy and irradiation can injure or even devastate the child’s neuraxis. In this chapter, the late effects from treating brain tumors in the pediatric nervous system will be discussed.

Seizures

At diagnosis, about 12% of children with brain tumors have seizures.2,3 While early surgical treatment can of