BACKGROUND: Memory impairment has been reported in paediatric brain tumors using global neuropsychological assessments, but no study focused on long-term memory consolidation processes have been conducted in these children. Therefore, we tested a long-term memory retrieval paradigm in children treated for temporal brain tumors. METHODS: We included 10 patients (6 to 18 yrs.) treated for a malignant (N = 6) or benign (N = 4) temporal brain tumor in the Paediatric Department of Gustave Roussy Institute (France) and 12 matched controls (6 to 18 yrs.). The protocol involved two parts: 1) 9 recent daily memories were first collected, 2) after a delay of 16 days, a free recall (FR) of memories was requested. When memories were not retrieved in FR, a semantic cues recall (CR) was performed. We first analysed the amount of memories retrieved (QM) in part 2 and then, the qualities of memories using the episodic score (ES) as a measure of the recall of rich contextual details. RESULTS: For FR, QM and ES were significantly lower in patients than in controls (QM: p < 0.01; ES: p < 0.001). For CR, QM did not differ significantly between patients and controls (p = 0.97), whereas ES was lower (p < 0.05). DISCUSSION: Patients showed episodic memory impairments characterized by a lower amount of memories retrieved and poorer details. However, patients were sensitive to semantic cues recall. Episodic memory impairment may be more associated with retrieval strategies than with consolidation impairments. Thus, investigating daily memories is relevant to capture memory deficits and their impact on quality of life of children treated for brain tumors. These findings also suggest new potential rehabilitation perspectives.

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