MRI morphometric and neuropsychological correlates of long-term memory in survivors of childhood leukemia.
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Long-term survivors of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) are reported to have post-treatment neurological changes as well as neuropsychological changes. Few studies have investigated the relationship between magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) volumetric measurements of brain regions of interest and cognitive functioning. This study examined the relationship between hippocampal volumes and long-term memory abilities in survivors of ALL.Ten survivors of ALL and ten matched controls underwent MRI acquisition. The participants completed a battery of tests measuring both visual and verbal long-term memory. Volumetric measurements of the hippocampus were obtained by consecutive manual tracing using the NIH Image 1.52 program. Estimates of whole brain volume were also obtained.No significant group differences were found in right or left hippocampi. Nor were there significant differences between the two groups on measures of long-term memory. Correlations between volumetric measurements of the hippocampus and measures of long-term memory were non-significant.Our hypothesis of deficits in both long-term memory and its neural substrates was not supported. It was concluded that the hippocampus, as an early developing structure, may be less vulnerable to chemotherapy treatment. Children surviving ALL are able to retain and retrieve once learned information comparable with peers.Copyright 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.