Abstract

Prior research has identified a number of areas of cognitive deficit among children with sickle cell disease (SCD), including decrements in memory span and working memory. The present study examined short-term memory span and working memory performance among children with SCD (n=25) and demographically matched comparison children (n=25) using digit span, spatial span, and the self-ordered pointing test. Children with SCD showed difficulties only for digit span-backward. Additional cognitive ability measures administered indicated auditory processing was an area of deficit related to digit span-backward performance. The study suggests that modality specific deficits are one factor in short-term memory span for children with SCD. The cause of this deficit is unclear, but may involve both central and peripheral components of auditory processing.