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Posted by on Jan 12, 2018 in Leukemia | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study aimed to investigate if the motor skills of pre-school children with acute leukemia were affected after treatment with hematopoietic stem cell transplant.

This study concluded that treatment with hematopoietic stem cell transplant can have a negative impact on this group of patients. 

Some background

Childhood acute leukemia (AL) can be treated with chemotherapy. These therapies can have a negative effect on the motor skills of young children. A motor skill is the movement of muscle to preform a specific act. Gross motor skills are large movements such as running and jumping. Fine motor skills are smaller actions like grasping which involves the fingers.

Hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) is another treatment for AL. It involves stem cells from a donor being transplanted into the patient to allow new cells to develop. It was unknown if HSCT would affect the motor skills of pre-school aged children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

Methods & findings

This study involved 60 children who had AML or ALL. Five of these children received HSCT as treatment. Interviews and questionnaires were carried out with the parents of the children to assess their motor skills.

Parents were interviewed by Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales (VBAS) on children’s motor skills. They also filled out the Italian Temperament Questionnaire (QUIT). The scores from VBAS were converted to mental age scores. A difference of three months or more between the child’s current age and mental age was considered a developmental delay.

56.7% of those that underwent HSCT had delays in global motor skills, fine motor skills and gross motor skills. These children had more difficulty with gross motor skills than those who did not receive HSCT. The same group also ranked lower on the motor temperament scale than those who did not receive HSCT. 

The bottom line

This study concluded that HSCT in pre-school aged patients with AL negatively impacted on their motor skills and temperamental motor activity. 

The fine print

A larger study needs to be carried out. 

What’s next?

Consult your physician about the advantages and disadvantages of HSCT for children with AL. 

Published By :


Date :

Nov 13, 2017

Original Title :

Motor skill delays in pre-school children with leukemia one year after treatment: Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation therapy as an important risk factor.

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