Pediatric Oncology Branch: Neurobehavioral Research Assessments

As part of the clinical trials investigating new treatments or natural history studies exploring the effects of diseases, such as cancer and neurofibromatosis type 1, we conduct comprehensive assessments of children, adolescents, and adults to identify strengths and weaknesses in neuropsychological functioning and to monitor changes in these areas over time.  Such neurobehavioral outcome measures may be used to assess toxicities and/or benefits of treatment

Cognitive Abilities

In these assessments, we use psychometric tests to evaluate a wide range of cognitive abilities:

  • cognition
  • memory
  • attention
  • processing speed
  • executive function (types of goal-directed behavior)
  • language
  • visual-motor abilities
  • academic achievement

Behavioral Domains

We also administer standardized measures as well as novel assessment techniques that we have developed to evaluate various behavioral domains

  • adaptive skills
  • attention and hyperactive behaviors
  • quality of life
  • medical adherence
  • pain
  • family coping
  • emotional functioning

Clinical Uses of Research Data

Data obtained from these measures are useful in determining specific needs for intervention, provide important information about factors that may influence adherence to treatment and disease outcomes, and are helpful in generating recommendations for follow-up psychoeducational services. The results of these comprehensive assessments are discussed with the patient and primary caregiver. In addition, reports of these findings can be provided when requested to assist with finding appropriate educational and psychological interventions at home.