Aim: Studies in the literature with specific information concerning the neuropsychological alterations in patients with high and low grade gliomas are poor. The aim of the present study was to investigate and compare the cognitive functioning in patients with high and low-grade glioma pre- and postoperatively. Methods: Between January 2009 and January 2011 27 patients with high-grade glioma (HG group) and 15 patients with low-grade glioma (LG group) were neuropsychologically assessed in the preoperative time, as well as 6 months and 1 year after surgery. During the examination, memory, visuo-constructive abilities, language and executive functions were tested. In addition in the preoperative time, the effect on cognition of lateralization, size and edema was analyzed for each group. Results: Both in the HG and LG group statistical comparisons of the pre- and postoperative assessments of cognitive abilities showed a postoperative improvement in memory functions and in processing speed (P<0.05). In particular the analysis of the significance of clinical factors in the postoperative outcome of patients with glioma showed that lesion size, edema and lateralization affect cognitive functioning in varying degree. Conclusion: These findings demonstrated different levels of impairments in executive and memory domains and in processing speed in patients with low and high grade gliomas. These deficits may have a strong impact on quality of life. Psychiatric interventions may be useful for patients and their families; in particular for helping the patient to become aware of the illness, in bolstering coping strategies, and for facilitating their support at home.
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