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Chemo effect may last for years

October 09, 2006|From Times wire reports

Chemotherapy can cause changes in the brain's metabolism and blood flow that can last as long as 10 years, a discovery that may explain the mental fog and confusion that affect many cancer survivors, researchers said Thursday.

The researchers, from UCLA, found that women who had undergone chemotherapy five to 10 years earlier had lower metabolism in a key region of the frontal cortex.

They also showed a spike in blood flow to the frontal cortex and cerebellum while performing memory tests, indicating a rapid jump in activity level, the scientists said in a statement about their study.

"In effect, these women's brains were working harder than the control subjects' to recall the same information," said Dr. Daniel Silverman, the UCLA associate professor who led the study.

The study was published Oct. 5 in the online edition of Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.

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