Neuropsychological aspects of pediatric sickle cell disease

Neuropsychol Rev. 2001 Dec;11(4):179-96. doi: 10.1023/a:1012901124088.


Sickle cell disease (SCD), a class of genetic disorders characterized by abnormal, sickled red blood cells, is a chronic illness that results in progressive cerebrovascular disease. Neurocognitive sequelae of clinically apparent cerebrovascular accidents in children with SCD are characterized by pervasive impairments, including decrements in general intellectual functioning, language and verbal abilities, visual-motor and visual-spatial processing, memory, academic achievement, and processing of subtle prosodic information. In contrast, subtle neurocognitive deficits in the areas of attention and concentration, executive function, and visual-motor speed and coordination appear to be associated with silent infarcts that are not necessarily detected on physical examination. Investigation of the disease course and associated neurocognitive sequelae suggest a disease-specific model of neuropsychological impairment. Recommendations are made for clinical and research efforts in the field of pediatric neuropsychology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / diagnosis*
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / psychology
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / diagnosis*
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / psychology
  • Cerebral Infarction / diagnosis
  • Cerebral Infarction / psychology
  • Child
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Humans
  • Neuropsychological Tests*