First Name: Carol
Last Name: Armstrong
Position Title: Director of Neuropsychology Lab. in Neuro-Oncology, Assoc. Professor (Adj.), Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania Medical School
Job Responsibilities: Research, Patient Care, Other
Education/Training: Psychology, Neuropsychology
About Me/My interests: There is much potential for in depth work in how cerebellar tumors, which are the most common type of pediatric brain tumor, damage brain functions and connectivity in the developing child. There is increasing interest in how damage to the connective architecture of the cerebellar-thalamo-cortical pathway is related to children’s cognition. My current focus is on current neurocognitive theory of cerebellar function in order to test new methods to test the implicit functional role of cerebellum in higher cognition. The neuroradiological focus is on white matter connectivity. My research team utilizes principally longitudinal study of the effects of tumor or treatment damage.
My prior studies have focused on cognitive outcomes associated with the mechanisms of the hippocampal and neocortical response to radiotherapy. The cerebellar response needs to be a part of studies of radiotherapy effects too, because the cerebellum and hippocampus both 1) rely on long term depression for rapid learning, 2) contain neural stem cells, and 3) are most vulnerable to environmental injury.
New tests are needed that are more specific to cerebellar function. We have a battery of cerebellar tests that are adjusted for pediatric use, and created post-processing analysis programs to automate measurement of implicit cognition.
The severity of the neuropsychiatric and neurocognitive problems of children with cerebellar tumors is impressive, and is one impetus for our work. In addition to cerebellar functions affecting cognition and emotion, my prior work has focused on the cognitive problems and white matter injury resulting from radiotherapy effects on brain.
Training Opportunities: Yes
My Contact Information:
Address: The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, 3535 Market Street, Rm. 1410, Philadelphia, PA 19105
Topics of Interest for Collaboration: Memory and Attention, Neuro-Oncology/brain tumor effects on cognition, Late effects of photon radiotherapy, Late effects of proton radiotherapy, Cerebellar cognitive function
Publications that may be of interest to others:
Armstrong, CL, Schmus, CJ, Belasco, JB. Neuropsychological Problems in Neuro-Oncology. In C. L. Armstrong (Ed.), Handbook of Medical Neuropsychology: Applications of Cognitive Neuroscience. New York: Springer, 2010.
Moitra E, Armstrong CL. Tumor locus moderates anxiety symptoms in pediatric neuro-oncologic sample. Child Neuropsychology, 2009; 15, 460-470. This paper discovers an association between tumors in the right cerebellar hemisphere and left cortical hemisphere and elevated anxiety in children.
Armstrong CL, Hunter JV, Hackney D, Shabbout M, Lustig R, Goldstein B, Werner-Wasik M, Curran W. MRI changes due to early-delayed conformal radiotherapy and postsurgical effects in patients with brain tumors. International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology and Physics, 2005;63(1):56-63.
Armstrong CL, Gyato K, Awadalla A, Lustig R, Tochner Z. A Critical Review of the Effects of Therapeutic Irradiation on Brain: The Roots of Controversy. Neuropsychology Review, 2004;14(1):65-86.