“These gray matter alterations appear primarily related to the effects of chemotherapy (for breast cancer), rather than solely reflecting host factors, the cancer disease process, or effects of other cancer treatments.”
“Neuroscientists have long been intrigued by the concept of brain plasticity — the ability of the brain to rewire itself. Michael Merzenich, PhD, a neuroscientist and recipient of the Kavli Prize, the highest honor in neuroscience, discovered that plasticity is a lifelong phenomenon, and was the first to harness it when he co-invented the cochlear implant. He is also a pioneer in developing plasticity-based computerized brain exercises. Through his studies on brain plasticity, Dr Merzenich developed computerized brain training exercises that could rewire the human brain through intensive adaptive practice, leading to a brain that is faster and more accurate — and as a result, has sharper cognitive abilities…”
“They found, as you would anticipate, a fall in cognitive activity in general in the population that started chemotherapy; I should emphasize that this information was all obtained with objective testing. There was a fall in cognitive function in the patients who received chemotherapy, and after time, that began to improve.
Very importantly, and the point of the article, was that the patients with breast cancer who started chemotherapy with a high level of physical activity had less of a decline. Also importantly, individuals who maintained their physical activity during chemotherapy did not experience the decline seen in others.
This is a very important observation. Clearly, we need additional work in this area. If encouraging physical activity in individuals receiving chemotherapy — in this case, for breast cancer — can decrease or maybe even eliminate the cognitive decline in those individuals, this would be a major advance in cancer treatment…”
“FINDINGS– UCLA researchers conducted a study of breast cancer survivors to better understand if lower activity of telomerase (an enzyme that helps maintain the health of cells) along with DNA damage (a factor in cellular aging) were associated with worse cognitive performance, such as attention and motor skills. The study showed that lower telomerase activity and more DNA damage were associated with worse cognitive performance…
Some people who have had cancer treatments experience cognitive decline. The study’s findings identify the correlation among telomerase activity, DNA damage and cognitive function. The study provides preliminary evidence that may help to inform future research and provide interventions to prevent cognitive decline in people with cancer who receive chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments.
“Together this research provides preliminary evidence that the cancer treatments can leave a lasting imprint on some individuals,” said Judith Carroll, an associate professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences and a member of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Our hope is that future research will target these biological aging pathways to prevent the cognitive declines experienced by some cancer survivors.”
Judith Carroll, Kathleen Van Dyk, Julienne Bower, Zorica Scuric, Laura Petersen, Robert Schiestl, Dr. Michael Irwin and Dr. Patricia Ganz.”