New study identifies physiological evidence for "chemobrain" in cancer patients

A study presented this week at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) offers new evidence that chemotherapy can create changes in the brain that affect cognitive function. Using PET/CT scans, researchers detected physiological evidence of chemobrain, a common side effect of chemo in cancer treatment.

Instead of studying chemotherapy's effect on the brain's appearance, [Dr. Rachel A. Lagos] and colleagues set out to identify its effect on brain function. By using PET/CT, they were able to assess changes to the brain's metabolism after chemotherapy.

"When we looked at the results, we were surprised at how obvious the changes were," Dr. Lagos said. "Chemo brain phenomenon is more than a feeling. It is not depression. It is a change in brain function observable on PET/CT brain imaging."

A personal note: Hell yes it's real. I have experienced profound damage in my ability to concentrate, remember names and experiences and tasks, and... wait what were we talking about? Also typos. I make more typos. No, seriously, chemobrain is one of the most upsetting parts of cancer treatment. Getting used to a damaged body is one thing; realizing your very mind has changed is another.

But for those about to experience it, here's the thing: you adapt. You get through it. You will function differently, but you will function. Let my posts here on Boing Boing, typos and all, be your proof.

Here's the full press release.

(thanks, Jody Schoger)