Tags: Cancer | chemo | brain | cancer | breast | therapy

'Chemo Brain' Is Real, Researchers Find

By    |   Monday, 27 April 2015 04:03 PM

“Chemo brain” — shorthand for chemotherapy-related cognitive deficits — is a real condition suffered by many women undergoing breast cancer therapy, according to new research by the University of British Columbia.

Such negative cognitive effects of the cancer treatment — including excessive mind wandering and an inability to concentrate — have long been suspected. But the new research is the first to explain why patients have difficulty paying attention.

"A healthy brain spends some time wandering and some time engaged," said Todd Handy, a professor of psychology at UBC who helped conduct the new study. "We found that chemo brain is a chronically wandering brain, they're essentially stuck in a shut out mode."

For the research, breast cancer survivors were asked to complete a set of tasks while investigators monitored their brain activity. The results showed the minds of people with “chemo brain” lack the ability for sustained focused thought.

Kristin Campbell, an associate professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and leader of the research team, says these findings could help healthcare providers measure the effects of chemotherapy on the brain.

"Physicians now recognize that the effects of cancer treatment persist long after it’s over and these effects can really impact a person's life," said Campbell. "These findings could offer a new way to test for chemo brain in patients and to monitor if they are getting better over time."

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'Chemo brain' is a real condition suffered by many women undergoing breast cancer therapy who experience cognitive deficits, according to new research by the University of British Columbia.
chemo, brain, cancer, breast, therapy
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2015-03-27
Monday, 27 April 2015 04:03 PM
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