Navigation Links
Breast cancer patients' persistent fatigue is real, may actually speed up aging
Date:4/6/2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio The persistent fatigue that plagues one out of every three breast cancer survivors may be caused by one part of the autonomic nervous system running in overdrive, while the other part fails to slow it down.

That imbalance of a natural system in the body appears linked to the tiredness and exhaustion that can burden cancer patients as much as a decade after their successful treatment.

The effect is so great, researchers say, that it may be a sign of accelerated aging in fatigued patients, causing them to seem as much as 20 years older compared with patients who aren't fatigued.

Those new research findings, just reported in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, are the latest from a three-decade-long study of the impact that stress can have on the human body.

Christopher Fagundes, a postdoctoral fellow at Ohio State University's Institute of Behavioral Medicine Research (IBMR), and Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, a professor of psychiatry and psychology and a member of the IBMR, drew early data from a larger ongoing study testing whether yoga can combat continuing fatigue in breast cancer patients.

They were looking for a new biomarker, a signal that could point to the initial cause of this fatigue. Their target was the autonomic nervous system, that part of the body that controls unconscious activities like breathing, heartbeat, digestion and such, which earlier research had indicated might play a role.

The autonomic nervous system has two main parts the sympathetic and the parasympathetic. The former is responsible for what has become known as the fight-or-flight response, a triggering of short-term, energized activity. The latter deals with opposite situations. It is the resting phase, best recognized by the sleepiness that may follow eating a big meal.

While the sympathetic system is an energy hog, the parasympathetic conserves energy, and the two should remain in balance in healthy individuals. The researchers were looking for differences between fatigued and non-fatigued cancer survivors.

"We started looking for biomarkers for cancer-related fatigue," Fagundes said. "Other research has indicated that a systemic inflammation through the body might be a reliable biomarker for this.

"Sick people with inflammation become tired and lethargic, which makes sense since their bodies are using energy to fight off infections. You can imagine that a long-term, systemic inflammation, year-in and year-out, might produce this fatigue."

For the study, 109 women participated and were placed in one of two groups those who reported long-term fatigue and those who didn't. The women varied from being two months to two years after being treated for their disease.

Fatigue is a normal response to breast cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy, but one-third or more of breast cancer survivors report continued debilitating fatigue long after treatment has ended.

After a short relaxation period, each woman had blood drawn to establish a baseline level for norepinephrine, a stress hormone that served as an indicator of activity by the sympathetic nervous system. Each participant had to give a five-minute speech before a two-person panel and then do a series of verbal arithmetic problems aimed at increasing stress levels. Additional blood samples were taken immediately after the stressor and then a half-hour later.

The norepinephrine levels rose as expected from the baseline in both groups after the stressful episode but the researchers were surprised to see something different. Regardless of the stressor, women who had persistent fatigue showed higher levels of norepinephrine than those who weren't fatigued.

"They had higher sympathetic activity and lower parasympathetic activity," Fagundes said, an indication that other researchers have suggested is a signal for inflammation.

The researchers also gauged another measure in the study, the natural variability in heart rate which decreases as a person ages. A lessened heart rate variability (HRV) is also an indicator of activity in the parasympathetic, or "resting," system.

"People who were fatigued had weaker parasympathetic activity than those who weren't," he said.

"One of the things we know best is that exercise can enhance a person's HRV," Kiecolt-Glaser said. "Exercise is also the best documented treatment for fatigue, so this all begins to make sense.

"Fatigue isn't a symptom that should be ignored. It's a marker for other things that might be going on," she said. Higher norepinephrine levels and lower HRV have been linked to high blood pressure, myocardial infarctions, strokes and diabetes.

"When a cancer patient reports persistent fatigue following treatment, it is something that deserves attention. It may be a symptom of other things that matter."


'/>"/>

Contact: Janice Kiecolt-Glaser
Janice.Kiecolt-Glaser@osumc.edu
614-293-3499
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson breast cancer symposium features latest in research, treatment
2. Fox Chase researchers find that fish oil boosts responses to breast cancer drug tamoxifen
3. Overall Health May Be Key to Beating Breast Cancer
4. Soy Foods OK After Breast Cancer: Study
5. Severe Weight Gain After Breast Cancer May Threaten Health
6. Genomic signature in post-menopausal women may explain why pregnancy reduces breast cancer risk
7. Large weight gain raises risk for recurrence among breast cancer survivors
8. Breast Milk Cells May Someday Help Predict Cancer
9. Study Links Smoking, Breast Cancer in Older Women
10. Breast milk may provide a personalized screen of breast cancer risk
11. Smoking did not influence breast cancer risk among obese women
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 02, 2016 , ... Lori G. Cohen and ... will speak at the American Conference Institute’s 21st Drug & Medical Device Litigation ... Lead Sponsor of the conference. , Cohen, who chairs the firm’s Pharmaceutical, Medical Device ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... 2016 , ... More than 100 business, civic, community and ... the UNCF Dothan-Wiregrass Mayor’s Luncheon Dec. 9, 2016. This inaugural event, hosted by ... support to UNCF-member institutions, including Miles College, Oakwood University, Tuskegee University, Stillman College ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... 2016 , ... The annual time frame to change Medicare health and prescription ... December 7th. Currently-enrolled Medicare beneficiaries who are looking to switch from their current plan ... to make changes during this period order for their new policy to go into ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 02, 2016 , ... Dr. Raffi Hovsepian, ... included in the 2016 “Guide to America’s Top Plastic Surgeons” for seven consecutive ... of their education, experience, and professional associations. , One the most frequently ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... Hawaii (PRWEB) , ... December 02, 2016 , ... ... 2016 at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa in Honolulu, offering ... in the field of pain management. , The demand for supplemental training ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/2/2016)... in the ECG Cables And ECG Leadwires Market owing to ... devices. On the other hand, the Asia-Pacific ... rate during the forecast period. The market players ... plc ( Ireland ), Koninklijke Philips N.V. ( ... ( China ), held major share of the ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... 2016 Quantum Radiology,s Mobile Breast Center (QR ... directly to women at the workplace, thereby maximizing convenience ... Delta Air Lines and SunTrust Bank, and community health ... of wellness initiatives. "I think it,s a ... them to have a mammogram without taking a large ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... Dec. 2, 2016  Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: ... for 2017 and provide updated financial guidance for 2016 ... a conference call on that day with the investment ... guidance. The conference call will begin at ... can access a live webcast of the conference call ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: