'Scientists have finally begun to work out what exactly 'chemo-brain' is - and may have found a way to reverse the brain fog cancer treatment cause, a new study reveals.
More than half of patients that receive chemotherapy report experiencing a cognitive fog for months and sometimes years after undergoing the intensive cancer treatment, but doctors haven't really understood what causes this.
A team of Stanford University scientists, however, have identified chemo's effects on three different types of brain cells.
They think that chemo causes a sort of arrested development for some brain cells and blocks the activity of cells that help ensure our brain cells are well-fed with nutrients because the drug triggers an overly-active immune response.
In their experiments on mice, a drug to quell those immune cells helped to reverse chemo's cognitive effects, giving the team hope that a treatment could be on the horizon.
The advent of chemotherapy was a revolution in the treatment of cancer.
Around the time of World War II, the US military's tests of mustard gas led to the discovery that compound based on mustard gas could combat some cancers.
Soon thereafter, the predecessor to the now commonly-used methotrexate was discovered.
Tumors grow when a DNA mutation allows cells to divide and multiply out of control. But methotrexate's predecessor blocked that DNA from replicating, so it blocked cancer growth, too.
Chemo's roots in poisons and warfare are telling. Any chemotherapy is toxic to us - it's just most toxic to carcinogenic cells.
And our body responds accordingly. chemo often makes patients nauseous, unable to eat, makes them achy and tired and makes their hair fall out.'
Read more: Chemo-brain IS real: Scientists discover how cancer treatments damage white matter to cause mental fog
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17 February 2019
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