Feasibility of Cogmed training for childhood cancer patients currently undergoing treatment

Institution: Children’s National Medical Center

Investigator(s): Dr. Kristina Hardy

Program: Cogmed RM/JM

Background & Aim: Between 30 -80% of children diagnosed with central nervous system (CNS)-impacting cancer (e.g., brain tumors and acute lymphoblastic leukemia) go on to experience neurocognitive problems such as deficits in working memory (WM). Because these difficulties make it harder for children to process and store new information, they are thought to contribute to declines in IQ and academic functioning over time. Late effects in adulthood are also associated with limited vocational opportunities and reduced likelihood of independent living. Although there is a growing body of research looking at the impact of intervening during the survivorship period, there are almost no studies that have attempted to intervene during the treatment phase, before neurocognitive declines occur. Thus, the aim of this project is to evaluate whether Cogmed is feasible for use with pediatric cancer patients during the active phase of treatment and to estimate the effect size of Cogmed on measures of attention and working memory in patients with cancer in order to determine whether a larger-scale clinical trial is warranted.

Population & Sample Size: N = 20 children with brain tumor or ALL undergoing treatment in adaptive Cogmed training group, ages 6-16 years

Design: Feasibility study, Test-retest