All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Rajesh K Kana

Advisory Committee Members

Gary R Hunter

James Banos

Alyssa T Reddy

Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2013

Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

As survival rates for pediatric posterior fossa tumor have improved, issues related to survivorship have become increasingly important. Foremost among these are cognitive difficulties, particularly in the domain of executive functions. The first manuscript reports on a systematic, comprehensive literature review of studies examining executive deficits in survivors of pediatric posterior fossa tumor, including the intervention studies that have attempted to ameliorate these difficulties. The second manuscript establishes the safety and feasibility of peak cardiorespiratory fitness testing in a cohort of pediatric posterior fossa tumor survivors. Survivors had lower fitness than typically developing children and children with cystic fibrosis, and similar fitness levels as children with chronic heart disease, according to published normative data. The third manuscript reports on the neural substrates recruited by pediatric posterior fossa tumor survivors to accomplish a working memory task, which were quite similar to those recruited by typically developing children and adults in the literature. Higher cardiorespiratory fitness was related to better executive functioning across measures. Aerobic exercise may be an effective intervention strategy to address executive function deficits in pediatric posterior fossa tumor survivors; future intervention studies should further explore this possibility.

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