Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Possible Cause Of 'Chemo Brain' In Breast Cancer Patients Found

Date:
March 20, 2008
Source:
West Virginia University Health Sciences Center
Summary:
Approximately 25 percent of breast cancer survivors experience mild to moderate memory, concentration and cognitive problems known as "chemobrain". A new study has documented the extent of changes to the brain's white matter in women who received chemotherapy for breast cancer.

Thanks to early diagnosis and chemotherapy, more women survive breast cancer than ever before. However, following treatment, approximately 25 percent of survivors experience mild to moderate memory, concentration and cognitive problems known as “chemobrain”.

“Several studies have investigated chemotherapy’s cause and effect on memory problems, but until now scientists had no clue what changes in the brain lead to memory loss,” Jame Abraham, M.D., director of the Comprehensive Breast Cancer Program at West Virginia University’s Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, said.

Abraham and his research team conducted one of the first chemobrain studies of its kind. The study documented the extent of changes to the brain’s white matter in women who received chemotherapy for breast cancer.

The preliminary study involved ten breast cancer patients who had received chemotherapy and complained of cognitive changes. A control group of nine healthy women of similar age, education and IQ, who never received chemotherapy, was also studied.

All participants were screened for medical, neurologic and psychiatric conditions that could affect brain structure or function. Participants were tested for depression, anxiety and processing speed.

Each participant also participated in a diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) MRI scan. The DTI was used to assess changes in the white matter of the brain.

“The images indicated differences in the white matter in the front part of the brain in women who had received chemotherapy,” said Marc Haut, Ph.D., of WVU’s departments of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry, Neurology and Radiology. “This difference in white matter correlated with how quickly the breast cancer patients could process information.”

“Women who received chemotherapy performed significantly worse in speed of processing than their counterparts in the control group,” said Abraham. “Our preliminary findings suggest that chemotherapy may change the brain and those changes affect the patient’s cognitive skills.”

Morgantown resident Sharon Palmatory, a patient of Dr. Abraham, recently finished chemotherapy treatments. She had very few side effects during chemotherapy, but after treatment experienced trouble remembering names and numbers.

“I can’t multi-task anymore; I can only focus on one thing at a time. It’s frustrating because I am used to being in control,” Palmatory said.

In some patients chemobrain can have a significant and serious affect on their everyday life.

“I feel like I’m always lagging behind in processing information,” she said. “It’s good to know that Dr. Abraham and others are studying this problem; they can let women receiving chemo know that they may experience memory loss.”

WVU researchers also concluded that changes in the white matter of the brain do not appear to be caused by depression or anxiety.

Abraham and Haut are leading several chemobrain studies funded by the U.S. Department of Defense and the WVU Department of Radiology. Their article is published in Clinical Breast Cancer, Volume 8, Number 1, February 2008.

WVU co-authors include Maria Moran, Ph.D., Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry and Department of Radiology; Shannon Filburn, Clinical Trials Research Unit; and Susan Lemiuex, Center for Advanced Imaging and Department of Radiology. Hiroto Kuwabara, Ph.D., Department of Radiology at Johns Hopkins University, is also a co-author.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by West Virginia University Health Sciences Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

West Virginia University Health Sciences Center. "Possible Cause Of 'Chemo Brain' In Breast Cancer Patients Found." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 March 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080319152426.htm>.
West Virginia University Health Sciences Center. (2008, March 20). Possible Cause Of 'Chemo Brain' In Breast Cancer Patients Found. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080319152426.htm
West Virginia University Health Sciences Center. "Possible Cause Of 'Chemo Brain' In Breast Cancer Patients Found." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080319152426.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Peace Corps is one of several U.S.-based organizations to pull workers out of West Africa because of the Ebola outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Health officials say 2,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. due to weather, but it's excessive heat and cold that claim the most lives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins