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Task Specific Cognitive Challenges in Brain Cancer Survivors at Work

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Technical Report

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Uniformed Services University Of The Health Sciences Bethesda United States

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Objective Past research indicated that generic cognitive limitations related to work occur in both brain tumor and non-cancer comparison groups. However cognitivelimitations were greater in occupationally active brain tumor survivors than those without a cancer history. While the link between cognitive limitations and work limitations are similar between groups, it is possible that a specific pattern of work task limitations may be present in the cancer group. The present study aims to identify specific problematic work tasks and their cognitive correlates that are more likely to be reported in brain tumor survivors. Method Brain cancer survivors n 163 and a non-cancer comparison group n 99 completed an online survey that included socio-demographic information, job characteristics, health behaviors, and the Cognitive Symptom Checklist, a self-report measure of task-specific cognitive limitations in the workplace. Results Cognitive difficulties in the context of specific work tasks were significantly higher in brain tumor survivors than the comparison group in 54.24 32 of the 59 of the work tasks. Odds ratios ranged from OR 0.72 95 CI.41-1.24 to OR14.36 95 CI4.23-48.74. Odds ratios for each task were higher for the brain tumor group in tasks related to decision making identifying mistakes or errors when they occur completing multi-dimensional or multi-step tasks e.g. following step-by-step instructions and remembering things, including following directions, and maintaining train of thought while speaking. Multivariate regression adjusting for age, gender, education, and frequency of aerobic exercise indicated that presence of brain tumor was the strongest predictor of self-reported cognitive limitations at work. The regression models accounted for 5.6 to 27 of the variance in cognitive limitations.

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