Research is shedding new light on the ‘brain fog’ experienced by cancer patients. The study looked at women undergoing treatment for breast cancer and found exercise could help with cognitive function.
Read more here: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-07-05/cancer-research-finds-exercise-helps-chemotherapy-brain-fog/102556324
When Deirdre Hillberg was undergoing treatment for breast cancer, her brain fog was so intense that on some mornings she forgot what day it was.
The 54-year-old Toowoomba mother also struggled with running her cleaning business, sometimes forgetting to take bookings.
“It made me feel quite vulnerable because I wasn’t able to think like I would normally think,” she said.
“Everything that I was doing had to be written down in a diary or a notepad, just to make sure that our business would run.”
Brain fog or chemo brain are terms often used to describe the reduced cognitive function in those undergoing cancer treatment.
It’s a condition that has been long reported by cancer patients but so far has been poorly understood.
New research has found it is likely caused by reduced blood flow to the brain.
In a study from the University of Southern Queensland, scientists compared the brains of 15 breast cancer survivors with those of 15 cancer-free women of the same age and body mass index.
They found the overall cognitive function of women who had breast cancer was 13 per cent lower.
Researcher Edward Bliss said the study was the first of its kind in the world.
“No-one’s actually looked at brain blood vessel function … we’ve gone through and actually explored why brain blood vessel function can be reduced or if it was reduced in breast cancer patients,” Dr Bliss said.
It is not known why cancer patients suffer a reduction in cognition, but Dr Bliss said it could be from treatment or the cancer itself.
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