Here is the New York Times take on yesterday’s story, Memory Loss Among Cancer Patients & Survivors Is Real–Now It’s Time For Doctors & Researchers To Do Something About It!
Mental Health: Fog May Be From Cancer, Not the Chemo
By RONI CARYN RABIN
Published: October 11, 2010
Cancer survivors often complain about “chemo brain,” a mental fog and inability to concentrate that persist long after treatment. But the problem may not be limited to cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy, a study suggests.
Researchers analyzed data gathered from 2001 to 2006 by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey on 9,819 adults ages 40 and older, of whom 1,305 reported a history of cancer.
Participants answered questions including “Are you limited in any way because of difficulty remembering or because you experience periods of confusion?”
While 8 percent of the respondents who had never had cancer reported impairment, 14 percent of those with a history of cancer reported problems. After controlling for differences between the groups, like age, education and overall health, researchers concluded that people with a history of cancer were 40 percent more likely to report memory impairment.
“These problems may be related to treatment, such as chemotherapy, radiation or hormonal therapy, or to something about the disease itself which can change brain chemistry, or to psychological distress,” said Pascal Jean-Pierre, of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, who presented the findings at an American Association for Cancer Research conference in Miami.
Promising treatments might include behavioral interventions and medications like antidepressants, said Dr. Jean-Pierre, adding that his study shows “this is a serious national problem.”
As usual, the Times does an excellent job with this story. Feel good and keep smiling! Pat