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Prostate Cancer Treatment Could Impair Men's Thinking
Date:7/29/2008

Hormone deprivation approach seems to affect memory, concentration, study finds,,

TUESDAY, July 29 (HealthDay News) -- Men undergoing hormone deprivation therapy to keep prostate cancer at bay may experience memory loss and have trouble concentrating, a new study finds.

Testosterone is thought to help spur prostate cancer. So, androgen depletion therapy has been used for many years to treat the disease. By reducing the level of testosterone, the treatment helps to slow the growth of prostate cancer cells.

However, "androgen depletion therapy can potentially have some subtle, adverse cognitive effects," said lead researcher Christian J. Nelson, from the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

These effects include difficulty in remembering and multi-tasking, Nelson said. "These men might not be thinking as quickly as they used to," he said. "They may find it more difficult to hold several pieces of information in their mind at one time."

The report was published in the July 28 online edition of Cancer.

For the study, Nelson's group reviewed a variety of studies in both animals and people that looked at the effects of androgen depletion therapy on cognition. They found that, depending on the study, between 47 percent and 69 percent of men treated with a hormonal approach did experience some decline in at least one area of cognition.

Troubling as the cognitive effects might seem, men should not seek to discontinue their therapy, Nelson said. "Treating the disease is much more important than these subtle cognitive effects," he said.

It's not known whether these effects are a direct result of hormone depletion or whether they are tied to the other side effects of hormone therapy. Those side effects include hot flashes, fatigue and anemia.

The research in this area is new, and not much is known ab
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