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Diagnosed with Cancer? Your two greatest challenges are understanding cancer and understanding possible side effects from chemo and radiation.  Knowledge is Power!

Learn about conventional, complementary, and integrative therapies.

Dealing with treatment side effects? Learn about evidence-based therapies to alleviate your symptoms.

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Chemo brain Therapies-

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According to the research linked below, yoga is an effective chemo brain therapy. I am a long-term cancer survivor myself who has grappled with chemo brain (chemotherapy-induced cognitive dysfunction) so I read the study below with interest.


What are some of the therapies, conventional or non-conventional, shown to help chemo brain?

Conventional Therapies

  1. Cognitive Rehabilitation:
    • Structured programs aimed at improving cognitive functions through exercises and strategies.
    • Often includes memory training, attention enhancement, and problem-solving activities.
  2. Medications:
    • Stimulants: Drugs like methylphenidate (Ritalin) may help improve concentration and attention.
    • Cognitive Enhancers: Donepezil and memantine, used in Alzheimer’s disease, are being studied for their potential benefits.
  3. Exercise:
    • Regular physical activity has been shown to improve cognitive function and overall brain health.
    • Aerobic exercises, in particular, have positive effects on memory and executive function.
  4. Occupational Therapy:
    • Helps patients develop coping strategies and adapt their daily routines to better manage cognitive challenges.
  5. Psychotherapy:
    • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can assist patients in managing the emotional and psychological aspects of chemo brain.

Non-Conventional Therapies

  1. Mindfulness and Meditation:
    • Practices like mindfulness meditation can reduce stress and improve cognitive function.
    • Techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery are often included.
  2. Diet and Nutrition:
    • Anti-inflammatory diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins may support brain health.
    • Supplements like omega-3, ginkgo biloba, and coenzyme Q10 are being explored for their potential benefits.
  3. Acupuncture:
    • Some studies suggest acupuncture may help alleviate cognitive symptoms and improve overall well-being.
  4. Neurofeedback:
    • This biofeedback technique involves training individuals to regulate brain wave patterns, which might enhance cognitive performance.
  5. Brain Training Programs:
    • Computerized cognitive training programs designed to improve specific cognitive skills through repeated practice.
  6. Herbal Supplements:
    • Certain herbs like ginseng and Bacopa monnieri are believed to have cognitive-enhancing properties, though more research is needed to confirm their efficacy.

Integrative Approaches

  1. Combining Therapies:
    • Integrative approaches that combine physical exercise, cognitive training, and dietary changes may provide synergistic benefits.
  2. Holistic Programs:
    • Programs that address physical, emotional, and cognitive health comprehensively, including stress management, nutritional support, and lifestyle modifications.

Research and Individualized Approaches

  • Ongoing research is critical to better understand the mechanisms of chemo brain and develop more effective treatments.
  • Personalized therapy plans, tailored to individual patient needs and preferences, are often the most effective approach.

I suppose your interest in chemo brain therapies depends in large part, on how much your daily life is turned upside down by this long-term side effect. I admit that I pursue many brain health therapies because I worry that chemo brain will negatively affect my brain health as I age (I was born in 1959).

Frankly, I don’t see much difference between my chemo brain and my cognitive health in general. I am working to prevent dementia in general. I do the chemo brain therapies listed below daily, weekly, etc. both to manage this side effect as well as prevent demential.

My list of chemobrain therapies- non-conventional

  1. Moderate daily exercise
  2. Acupuncture
  3. Sleep
  4. Nutrition
  5. Brain Games- Brain HQ

man hand holding his nutritional supplemets, healthy lifestyle background.

My list of chemo brain therapies- nutritional supplementation

  • Caffeine
  • Coenzyme Q10
  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Ginseng
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Turmeric/curcumin
  • Vitamin D

Are you a cancer survivor struggling with chemo brain? Or perhaps someone struggling with dementia? If you’d like to discuss chemo brain therapies email me at David.PeopleBeatingCancer@gmail.com 

Thank you,

David Emerson

  • Cancer Survivor
  • Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Yoga shows ‘most improvement’ in restoring brain health in long-term cancer survivors, researcher says

“For too many cancer survivors, life after treatment is fraught with a decline in cognitive function known as “chemo brain…”

A newly published study by a Northeastern professor says that might hold the key to restoring brain health in long-term in a manner unrivaled by or stretching and toning exercises…

The study randomized 78 people who had survived cancer for an average of eight years into three groups of 26 who did hatha yoga, aerobic exercise or stretching and toning exercises 150 minutes a week for 12 weeks.

Self-reporting from all three groups showed gains in concentration, focus and memory, but the “yoga group showed the most improvement on their perceived cognitive abilities,” Gothe says…

A prescription for yoga?

“The fact that we are seeing yoga and exercise have an impact and improve cognitive function for individuals who are eight years out from their diagnosis is a very strong finding,” she says.

“It means we can offer exercises, we can prescribe yoga as a form of treatment or therapy for them to really be able to manage their cognitive complaints…”

What is chemo brain?

Chemo brain, also known as mental fog, is a colloquial term for the cancer-related cognitive decline that affects as many as 75% of people treated for cancer…

Why yoga over other forms of exercise as chemo brain therapy-

Participants in the study who did aerobics or were assigned to the stretching and toning group also reported improvement in their ability to concentrate, remember and keep track of activities, Gothe says.

But the gains in perceived were more pronounced among the yoga practitioners,

  • 81% of whom reported improvement on such measures as formulating thoughts and concentrating compared to
  • 62% of the aerobic and
  • 48% of the stretching and toning participants…

But (the study) it included people with a wide range of cancers including

  • breast,
  • cervical,
  • colorectal,
  • uterine,
  • lung,
  • ovarian,
  • prostate,
  • blood and
  • skin cancer, she says…

 

 

 

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