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Neurofeedback and Neuropathy

Posted 3/17/2016

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  If you don't know what neuropathy means, consider yourself to be fortunate. Just as often called peripheral neuropathy as it applies to cancer patients, it means nerve damage that results in some degree of tingling, pain, and poor function. In Cancer World, it can be caused by radiation, surgery, or some chemotherapy drugs, often one of the Taxanes.

  Since these drugs are commonly used in the treatment of breast and ovarian cancer, I know many women who have had some degree of difficulty. In groups yesterday, one woman talked about being unable to open a jar of mayonnaise when her hands were at their worst, and another spoke of continuing pain in her feet that makes it impossible to stand and wait for a bus or to teach a class without periods of sitting down.

  No one seems to know too much about this problem, and surely no one has a quick fix. There are some medications that are sometimes helpful, and several studies are now looking at the possibility of acupuncture as treatment. I know a few women who have been part of one study, and they were helped in varying degrees. One limitation of acupuncture, at least for them, has been the necessity to have treatment three times/week to maintain the improvement. This is hard in terms of both time and money.

  Now comes a suggestion that neurofeedback may be useful. From Eureka Alert comes this story:

Neurofeedback reduces pain, increases quality
of life for cancer patients suffering from
chemotherapy-induced neuropathy

UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS M. D. ANDERSON CANCER CENTER
A new study from The University of Texas MD Anderson
Cancer Center evaluating the use of neurofeedback found a
decrease in the experience of chronic pain and increase
quality of life in patients with neuropathic pain.
The study will be presented at the annual meeting of the
American Psychosomatic Society, held March 9-12 in Denver,
Colorado.
Study lead investigator Sarah Prinsloo, Ph.D., assistant
professor Palliative, Rehabilitation, and Integrative Medicine
at MD Anderson, identified the location of brain activity that
contributes to the physical and emotional aspects of chronic
pain, which allowed patients to modify their own brain
activity through electroencephalogram (EEG) biofeedback.
EEG tracks and records brain wave patterns by attaching
small metal discs with thin wires on the scalp, and then
sending signals to a computer to record the results.

Read more: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-03/uotm-nrp031116.php


If you would like to read more about the condition, try this from NCCN: 

http://www.nccn.org/patients/resources/life_with_cancer/managing_symptoms/neuropathy.aspx

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