Comparing sustained attention and inhibitory control among youth with sickle cell syndrome (SCS) and nondiseased sibling controls, this study found significant differences in multiple components of attention and inhibitory control as a function of chronological age. Older SCS youth were found to have increased attention and reflectivity. Although it has been argued that SCS youth without overt neurological impairments might evidence microvascular infarction, the present study, which employed commonly utilized neurocognitive and behavioral measures, does not lend support to the notion of generalized deficits in the absence of specific laboratory findings. Disease parameters including hemoglobin levels, days hospitalized, and emergency room visits were not significantly correlated with performance on any of the measures. Within the limitations of this particular study, results were interpreted to refute the notion of disease-related neurocognitive impairments for SCS youth. Further, the development of attentional skills for SCS youth is suggested to proceed similarly to that of normally developing youth.

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