RESEARCH ARTICLE


Influence of Working Memory on Academic Achievement and Quality of Life in Children with Beta-Thalassemia Major



Uni Gamayani1, *, Ni Luh Meidha Dini Lestari1, Ahmad Rizal Ganiem1, Ramdan Panigoro2
1 Department of Neurology, Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Padjadjaran/ Hasan Sadikin General Hospital, Jalan Pasteur no 38, Indonesia
2 Department of Biomedical Science, Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Padjadjaran/ Hasan Sadikin General Hospital, RSP Unpad, Jalan Eijkman No 38, Indonesia


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Creative Commons License
© 2019 Gamayani et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Neurology, Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Padjadjaran/ Hasan Sadikin General Hospital, Jalan Pasteur no 38, Indonesia; Tel: +62222036984; E-mail: gamayani@yahoo.com


Abstract

Background:

Children with beta-thalassemia major may suffer from working memory impairment. For a more refined understanding of this issue, we assessed working memory function in beta-thalassemia children and evaluated its influence on academic achievement and quality of life.

Methods:

This was a cross-sectional study involving 60 beta-thalassemia children aged 8-12 years. All participants underwent a working memory assessment using the digit span and were interviewed using academic achievement and Indonesian version of PedsQL 4.0 questionnaires. Working memory in beta-thalassemia children significantly influences their quality of life, both directly (β=0.32) and indirectly, through their academic achievement (β=0.639). Longer duration of transfusion (p=0.01) is significantly related to poorer working memory, while lower hemoglobin level (p=0.81) and higher ferritin level (p=0.24) are not significantly associated with working memory.

Conclusion:

We concluded that working memory influences the quality of life in beta-thalassemia children, both directly and indirectly, through their academic achievement.

Keywords: Academic achievement, Digit span, PedsQL, Quality of life, Thalassemia, Working memory.