A significant risk of suffering from permanent neurocognitive adverse effects may be found in children who undergo brain radiation therapy.
These adverse effects are due to the fact that the radiation often encounters healthy tissue. This reduces the formation of new cells, particularly in the hippocampus - the part of the brain involved in memory and learning.
Researchers at the University of Gothenburg's Sahlgrenska Academy have used a model study to test newer radiation therapy techniques which could reduce these harmful adverse effects. The researchers based their study on a number of paediatric patients who had undergone conventional radiation treatment for medulloblastoma, a form of brain tumour that almost exclusively affects children, and simulated treatment plans using proton therapy techniques and newer photon therapy techniques.
"This could mean a better quality of life for children who are forced to undergo brain radiation therapy," says Malin Blomstrand.