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Old 07-06-2010, 11:44 AM   #1
imdavidson
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Los Angeles
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From MD Anderson: Delayed Onset of "Chemo Brain" Months After Treatment

In some disturbing findings reported in the April 28, 2010 issue of the journal Cancer, patients may not experience "chemo brain" during treatment but rather months later. According to the authors, "This is very concerning as clinical lore has suggested that treatment-related cognitive dysfunction should dissipate over time."

The Study
42 patients, all scheduled to undergo a chemotherapy regimen of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), Adriamycin, and cyclophosphamide (FAC), with or without paclitaxel.

FIRST EVALUATION
All went through a baseline evaluation prior to beginning chemo. This included a battery of tests that looked at cognition, mood, and quality of life.

Results: 21% (9 of 42 women) showed cognitive dysfunction on measures of processing speed, executive function, learning and memory.

SECOND EVALUATION
Patients were given a similar battery of tests during chemo or shortly after completion.

Results: 24 of 37 women (65%) - note, some participants dropped out - demonstrated an acute decline in cognitive functioning

THIRD EVALUATION
A similar battery of tests 1 year or several months after completing chemo.

Results: 17 of the 28 patients who returned for the late evaluation (61%) showed cognitive decline at end of treatment. The cognitive areas most commonly affected were learning, memory, executive function and processing speed.

Within this group:
12 of those 17 patients (71%) showed a continuous decline since their second evaluation. 5 of those 17 patients (29%) showed a new onset cognitive decline that was not present at their second evaluation.

Previous research from these authors showed that women receiving FAC regimens to treat breast cancer experienced cognitive decline that often did not improve in the year following treatment. But what's so significant about this study is that they also found a "progressive and delayed cognitive decline that does not appear to be attributable to other interventions."

In other words, you may feel clear headed during treatment only to experience "chemo brain" months later. And at least in this study, the fog could get worse after treatment. Not a happy thought for those of us who have gone through it. I' ve included a link to the abstract, below.

*Jeffrey S. Wefel, PhD, et al., "Acute and late onset cognitive dysfunction associated with chemotherapy in women with breast cancer," journal Cancer, 28 Apr 2010.
__________________
Idelle Davidson
Co-author (with Dr. Dan Silverman at UCLA) of "Your Brain After Chemo: A Practical Guide to Lifting the Fog and Getting Back Your Focus" (Da Capo Lifelong Books, 2009). Amazon. www.YourBrainAfterChemo.com.

ER/PR negative/HER-2 positive
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