Radiation could be doing more harm than what you think. Low doses of radiation have been found to result in a reading impairment in children.
It is not uncommon for children who suffer from medulloblastoma to undergo irradiation therapy . The fact that this could result in affecting IQ and reading skills of younger children rather than destroying the tumor would need critical evaluation.
It has been found that the greatest rates of decline in IQ and reading skills occurred in patients who were younger than 7 years old at diagnosis. Patients who were at either high or average risk of treatment failure suffered significant loss of reading skills over time following treatment.
It is believed that the above effect is caused by impairments of the fundamental cognitive processes that are critical to the early development of these skills in a child. The investigators are now using results of this study to identify and help children in need of special training to enhance their cognitive functioning following treatment for medulloblastoma.
This study significantly adds to our understanding of the long-term neuro-cognitive development of these children. It also helps us develop and test intervention programs that aim at reducing the deficits these children experience.