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Study: Therapy Restores Brain Processing In Chemo Patients

Researchers say computer exercises can help patients undergoing chemotherapy to experience improved memory and brain processing speed.

  • Bloomington Hospital

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    Photo: Bloomington Hospital

    Brain exercises curb anxiety and depression associated with the effects of chemotherapy treatment.

  • posit science brain exercises

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    Photo: Screenshot/Posit Science

    One of the brain exercises produced by Posit Science asks participants to identify the colors of shapes as quickly as possible.

An Indiana University study has found brain exercises can help cancer patients who have lost cognitive abilities because of chemotherapy treatment.

Some patients that undergo chemotherapy experience what’s called “chemobrain”—a condition that decreases brain processing and memory. The IU study analyzed breast cancer patients after they participated in specific computer brain training exercises.

The exercises include a variety of tasks such as asking participants to identify shapes and colors as they flash on and off a computer screen.

Indiana University’s School of Nursing Assistant Professor Diane Von Ah headed the study and says initial results show patients improved in memory and brain processing speed.

“This is the first study of its type, and our goal is to look at a larger sample and actually see if we can produce these results again in the future. And then maybe start looking at who we can apply these programs to, who they would be best suited for,” Von Ah says.

Von Ah says the study also showed that when patients improved their memory, they were less likely to experience anxiety and depression.

  • DoctorFugedy

    A new treatment, transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) uses a tiny, imperceptible amount of electricity from a portable stimulator to gently facilitate targeted areas of the brain. DARPA funded studies demonstrate enhanced learning for pilots and snipers after a 20-minute tDCS treatment. Math test scores are improved by tDCS.
    In a study published earlier this year, tDCS reduced depression 50% for patients with treatment-resistant depression (the 40% of depressed patients who do not respond to antidepressants). Also, cognitive function improved with the initial tDCS treatment. tDCS is safe, easy to do, without side effects and can be done by the patient at home which reduces cost and increases convenience.

  • Pingback: Mesothelioma among Many Cancers That Leave Survivors With ‘Chemo Brain’ | Old Dominion Environmental Services, Inc.

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