Cognitive rehabilitation training in patients with brain tumor-related epilepsy and cognitive deficits: a pilot study


The aim of this pilot observational study was to evaluate effect of cognitive rehabilitation training (RehabTr) on cognitive performances in patients with brain tumor-related epilepsy (BTRE) and cognitive disturbances. Medical inclusion criteria: patients (M/F) ≥18 years ≤75 with symptomatic seizures due to primary brain tumors or brain metastases in stable treatment with antiepileptic drugs; previous surgical resection or biopsy; >70 Karnofsky Performance Status; stable oncological disease. Eligible patients recruited from 100 consecutive patients with BTRE at first visit to our Center from 2011 to 2012. All recruited patients were administered battery of neuropsychological tests exploring various cognitive domains. Patients considered to have a neuropsychological deficit were those with at least one test score for a given domain indicative of impairment. Thirty patients out of 100 showed cognitive deficits, and were offered participation in RehabTr, of which 16 accepted (5 low grade glioma, 4 high grade glioma, 2 glioblastoma, 2 meningioma and 3 metastases) and 14 declined for various reasons. The RehabTr consisted of one weekly individual session of 1 h, for a total of 10 weeks, carried out by a trained psychologist. The functions trained were: memory, attention, visuo-spatial functions, language and reasoning by means of Training NeuroPsicologico (TNP®) software. To evaluate the effect of the RehabTr, the same battery of tests was administered directly after cognitive rehabilitation (T1), and at six-month follow-up (T2). Statistical analysis with Student T test for paired data showed that short-term verbal memory, episodic memory, fluency and long term visuo-spatial memory improved immediately after the T1 and remained stable at T2. At final follow-up all patients showed an improvement in at least one domain that had been lower than normal at baseline. 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, randomized clinical trials that evaluate the impact of a cognitive rehabilitation in patients with BTRE and cognitive deficits.

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The Authors wish to thank Ms. Lesley Pritikin for reviewing the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Marta Maschio.

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Maschio, M., Dinapoli, L., Fabi, A. et al. Cognitive rehabilitation training in patients with brain tumor-related epilepsy and cognitive deficits: a pilot study. J Neurooncol 125, 419–426 (2015).

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  • Brain tumor
  • Brain tumor-related epilepsy
  • Cognitive deficits
  • Cognitive rehabilitation
  • Antiepileptic drugs