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45 Cognitive rehabilitation in neuro-oncology: Program development and evaluation

  • NM Richard, WP Mason, D Shultz, N Laperriere, BA Millar, A Berlin, F Moraes, T Conrad, M Patel, C Maurice, M Bernstein, P Kongkham, G Zadeh, LJ Bernstein and K Edelstein...

Abstract

Background: Brain tumors present unique challenges to patient and family quality of life (QOL). Cognitive dysfunction is common and functionally limiting, with no established treatments. These studies evaluate feasibility and preliminary efficacy of behavioral interventions developed for neuro-oncology patients. Study 1: A randomized controlled trial (N=25 primary brain tumor patients) compared an adapted version of Goal Management Training (GMT, a neuroscience-based integration of mindfulness and strategy training) and a newly-designed supportive psychoeducational intervention (Brain Health Program, BHP) to standard of care. Each intervention comprised 8 individual sessions and at-home practice between sessions. GMT patients’ executive functions improved immediately (p=.077, d=1.13), with maintenance at 4-month follow-up (p=.046, d=1.09). Both intervention groups reported improvements in everyday cognitive functioning immediately (p=.049; d’s GMT=0.43, BHP=0.79) and at follow-up (p=.001; d’s GMT=0.22, BHP=1.01). BHP patients also reported improved mood (p’s=.026 & .012, d’s=0.61 & 0.62). Study 2: Following a needs assessment about cognitive concerns and QOL in brain metastases patients (N=109) and caregivers (N=31), we developed a novel, brief (3 sessions + homework) Cognitive Support Program to provide education and strategy-training in key areas of concern: executive functions, memory, and communication. Options include caregiver co-training, and in-person or web-based delivery. Preliminary data from a pilot trial in progress demonstrate objective and subjective improvements. Conclusions: Cognitive rehabilitation may be a feasible and effective option for primary or metastatic brain tumor patients, addressing a need that is largely unmet in standard cancer care. Further development and larger trials appear warranted, with capacity for remote delivery recommended.

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