Changes in Cognition and Decision Making Capacity Following Brain Tumour Resection

Abstract

Changes in cognition, behaviour and emotion frequently occur in patients with primary and secondary brain tumours. This impacts the ability to make considered decisions, especially following surgical resection, which is often overlooked in the management of patients. Moreover, the impact of cognitive deficits on decision making ability affects activities of daily living and functional independence. The assessment process to ascertain decision making capacity remains a matter of debate. One avenue for evaluating a patient’s ability to make informed decisions in the context of brain tumour resection is neuropsychological assessment. This involves the assessment of a wide range of cognitive abilities on standard measurement tools, providing a robust approach to ascertaining capacity. Evidence has shown that a comprehensive and tailored neuropsychological assessment has greater sensitivity than brief cognitive screening tools to detect subtle and/or specific cognitive deficits in brain tumours. It is the precise nature and severity of any cognitive deficits that determines any implications for decision making capacity. This paper focuses on cognitive deficits and decision making capacity following surgical resection of both benign and malignant, and primary and secondary brain tumours in adult patients, and the implications for patients’ ability to consent to future medical treatment and make decisions related to everyday activities. Click here to read the full article.