Chemo Brain...explained.

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Molly
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Chemo Brain...explained.

Postby Molly » Thu Oct 05, 2006 8:59 am

Chemo has long-term impact on brain function 1 hour, 44 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Chemotherapy causes changes in the brain's metabolism and blood flow that can last as long as 10 years, a discovery that may explain the mental fog and confusion that affect many cancer survivors, researchers said on Thursday.

The researchers, from the University of California, Los Angeles, found that women who had undergone chemotherapy five to 10 years earlier had lower metabolism in a key region of the frontal cortex.

Women treated with chemotherapy also showed a spike in blood flow to the frontal cortex and cerebellum while performing memory tests, indicating a rapid jump in activity level, the researchers said in a statement about their study.

"The same area of the frontal lobe that showed lower resting metabolism displayed a substantial leap in activity when the patients were performing the memory exercise," said Daniel Silverman, the UCLA associate professor who led the study.

"In effect, these women's brains were working harder than the control subjects' to recall the same information," he said in a statement.

Experts estimate at least 25 percent of chemotherapy patients are affected by symptoms of confusion, so-called chemo brain, and a recent study by the University of Minnesota reported an 82 percent rate, the statement said.

"People with 'chemo brain' often can't focus, remember things or multitask the way they did before chemotherapy," Silverman said. "Our study demonstrates for the first time that patients suffering from these cognitive symptoms have specific alterations in brain metabolism."

The study, published on Thursday in the online edition of Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, tested 21 women who had surgery to remove breast tumors, 16 of whom had received chemotherapy and five who had not.

The researchers used positron emission tomography scans to compare the brain function of the women. They also compared the scans with those of 13 women who had not had breast cancer or chemotherapy.

Positron emission tomography creates an image of sections of the body using a special camera that follows the progress of an injected radioactive tracer.

Researchers used the scans to examine the women's resting brain metabolism as well as the blood flow to their brains as they did a short-term memory exercise.

Silverman said the findings suggested PET scans could be used to monitor the effects of chemotherapy on brain metabolism. Since the scans already are used to monitor patients for tumor response to therapy, the additional tests would be easy to add, he said.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, with some 211,000 new cases diagnosed each year, the statement said.

Molly
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Postby Molly » Thu Oct 05, 2006 2:38 pm

...and of course now, as I reread this, all I can think is, "What's my excuse going to be after I hit the 10 year mark?"

:wink:

Phil in Az
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Postby Phil in Az » Thu Oct 05, 2006 3:46 pm

i for one would just love to see a study that comes out and states:

"Chemo Cause of Incredible Sexlife, patients report 100% Increase in Satisfying Sex"

Or:

"Chemo - Increases Blood Flow to Lungs and Heart, More Cancer Survivors Climbing Mt Everest than Ever".

Hell, i'd settle for: "Cancer Patients Discover the perfect Shrimp Scampi Recipe Due to Chemo-Brain".

"Cancer Patient Finds Osama Bin Laden, WMD's, and Jimmy Hoffa in One Day!!!

Molly
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Postby Molly » Thu Oct 05, 2006 3:58 pm

HAHA! Phil, you made my day!

I second that!

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Sweet Peg
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Postby Sweet Peg » Thu Oct 05, 2006 5:20 pm

LOL LOL Phil that is just too funny!! I have to share this post with family members for sure!! I hear you too Molly!! Everyone tells me I am full of crap about this memory thing...they say it IS my age!! Ok, so I AM 52 in another month, but I don't think that sort of thing hits THIS early does it???? LOL I am just glad to see the report as I really DO notice a difference since the Chemo!! Thanks for sharing Molly! And thanks so much for the Humor Phil!! Made my day for sure!!!!

Peg

Phil in Az
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Postby Phil in Az » Thu Oct 05, 2006 7:11 pm

Don't thank me, it's chemo-brain.

Ha Ha!

I have a slightly funny story - not long after my complete colectomy (dx'd w/ stage 3 colon cancer in feb) i was lying in bed at 7pm. We had just put our daughter to bed, and my wife was getting ready to take a bath.

Well as i lay in bed, she comes in the room and gives me this "you have to leave now because i want to take my bath" look. So i said to her - "but i have cancer". We both just laughed, then i left the room so she could take her bath.

You'd think the "cancer angle" would permit a few perks here and there, but not really. Oh well, i still have air in my lungs, that's enough of a perk for me. (but a foot rub sure would be nice too)

-phil

missjv
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Postby missjv » Sun Oct 08, 2006 11:11 am

hi,
well i have bad chemo brain i forget stupid stuff all the time. i was a dip shit before chemo but im steadily getting worse but at least now i have an excuse before it was just that i was goofy anyways.

missjv

popcornkel
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chemobrain

Postby popcornkel » Sat Oct 21, 2006 10:42 pm

Keep in mind this study was on breast cancer patients (ironically I just read a discussion thread about how much more attention breast cancer gets that colon cancer!) - so if you bring this up with your docs they will probably tell you that!


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