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Rutgers neuroscientist sheds light on cause for 'chemo brain'
Date:2/21/2013

le to learn difficult tasks.

Shors says the rats had great difficulty learning to associate stimulus events if there was a time gap between the activities but could learn simple task if the stimuli were not separated in time. Interestingly, she says, the drug did not disrupt the memories that were already present when the treatment began.

For cancer patients undergoing long-term chemotherapy this could mean that although they are able to do simple everyday tasks, they find it difficult to do more complicated activities like processing long strings of numbers, remembering recent conversations, following instructions and setting priorities. Studies indicate that while most cancer patients experience short-term memory loss and disordered thinking, about 15 percent of cancer patients suffer more long-lasting cognitive problems as a result of the chemotherapy treatment.

"Chemotherapy is an especially difficult time as patients are learning how to manage their treatment options while still engaging in and appreciating life. The disruptions in brain rhythms and neurogenesis during treatment may explain some of the cognitive problems that can occur during this time. The good news is that these effects are probably not long-lasting," says Shors.


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Contact: Robin Lally
rlally@ur.rutgers.edu
Rutgers University
Source:Eurekalert

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