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More than Chemo Brain

Posted 3/1/2016

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  Please excuse a brief entry today. For the first time in more than a decade, I am home sick and don't have a lot of spare energy or wit. Hopefully, I have enough to manage this piece about chemo brain. The summary is that no one really understands it; it happens to many, but not all, people who have chemotherapy, and it usually gets better.

  From Cure Today:

 More Than Chemo Brain: Several Factors Contribute to
Cognitive Decline After Cancer

Lauren M. Green

Though patients and survivors often complain of chemo brain during and after treatment for cancer, a growing body of research shows that there are multiple causes behind the cognitive decline many survivors experience.
Whatever the culprits, cognitive complaints persist for many cancer survivors long after their active treatment has ended, and there is increasing evidence to back this up, said Tim Ahles, in his presentation at the inaugural 2016 Cancer Survivorship Symposium.
Ahles, a behavioral psychologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, noted that most of the research on the cognitive impact of cancer treatments has been done in breast cancer, with at least 20 longitudinal studies devoted to cognitive functioning in this population.
While almost everyone reports some temporary issues with cognitive function during their chemotherapy treatment, Ahles estimates that for about 15 to 20 percent of survivors, this condition may persist one or two years — for some even longer —though the research varies, with some studies finding no evidence of impairment and others reporting as much as 60 percent.
Advanced imaging techniques and animal studies have enabled researchers to better elucidate how exposure to chemotherapy can impact the brain, Ahles explained, and researchers theorize that the mechanisms may be a kind of “accelerated aging” that
results in DNA damage, inflammation and increased oxidative stress, among other effects.

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