Mathematics intervention for prevention of neurocognitive deficits in childhood leukemia

Ida M. Moore Ki, Marilyn J. Hockenberry, Cynthia Anhalt, Kathy Mccarthy, Kevin R. Krull

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Background: Despite evidence that CNS treatment is associated with cognitive and academic impairment, interventions to prevent or mitigate these problems are limited. The purpose was to determine if early intervention can prevent declines in mathematics abilities. Procedures: Fifty-seven children with ALL were enrolled and randomized to a Mathematics Intervention or Standard Care. Subjects completed neurocognitive assessments prior to the intervention, post-intervention, and 1 year later. Parents received written results and recommendations for use with their school. The Mathematics Intervention was based on Multiple Representation Theory and delivered individually over 1 year. Results: Thirty-two of 57 subjects completed the study and were included in data analyses. These 32 subjects completed all neurocognitive assessments and, for those in the Intervention Group, 40-50hours of the Mathematics Intervention. There were no group differences on relevant demographic variables; risk stratification; number of intrathecal methotrexate injections; or high dose systemic methotrexate. Significant improvements in calculation and applied mathematics from Baseline to Post-Intervention (P=0.003 and 0.002, respectively) and in visual working memory from Baseline to 1 year Follow-up (P=0.02) were observed in the Intervention but not the Standard Care Group. Results from repeated measures ANOVA demonstrated significant between group differences for applied mathematics [F(2,29)=12.47, P<0.001] and visual working memory [F(2,29)=5.53, P=0.009]. Conclusions: The Mathematics Intervention improved mathematics abilities and visual working memory compared to standard care. Future studies are needed to translate the Mathematics Intervention into a "virtual" delivery method more readily available to parents and children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)278-284
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric Blood and Cancer
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • Childhood leukemia
  • Mathematics Intervention
  • Neurocognitive sequelae
  • Prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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