From Science Daily:
More children are surviving malignant brain tumors than in the past, thanks to the use of intense treatments using platinum-based chemotherapy (cisplatin and high-dose carboplatin). Unfortunately, the therapy has a known side effect of permanent hearing loss, resulting from damage to the inner ear. Investigators at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles now report that this type of chemotherapy may not only impact hearing, but that the hearing loss may then contribute to long-term neurocognitive deficits.
The study will be published online on November 3 in the journal Pediatric Blood & Cancer.
“Neurocognitive effects are associated with radiation therapy for brain tumors; however, the use of platinum-based chemotherapy regimens to reduce or eliminate radiation therapy were thought to spare these harmful side effects to the brain, despite their known impact on hearing,” said Etan Orgel, MD, MS, attending physician at CHLA and principal investigator on the study. “Our research suggests that, despite this practice shift in therapy, the impact of hearing loss itself in brain tumor survivors leads to long-term neurocognitive problems.”
In both the general pediatric population and among children with non-brain related tumors, even mild hearing loss has been associated with declines in academic performance and language acquisition. However, recent studies did not specify the exact parameters of such declines, and included only a brief follow-up period. The CHLA researchers suspected that a longer follow-up period might reveal greater information about the true neurocognitive impact, as well as specific areas affected.
Their retrospective analysis involved patients under the age of…