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Study: Therapy Restores Brain Processing In Chemo Patients

  • 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.

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