cognitive loss / chemo brain

Breast Cancer & Chemo Brain: A New Clinical Study

Beth Brophy Health Guide June 03, 2007
  • Call me skeptical, but hopeful. I am one of the many cancer patients who has noticed a slight loss of brain function and memory after chemotherapy. Thus, I am very interested in the results of a new study about chemo brain.

     

    A very small (only 68 women), short-term (only eight weeks)  study of a drug called modafinil provided some relief to breast cancer patients for the side effect of chemotherapy commonly known as “chemo brain,” and otherwise known as mental fogginess and forgetfulness. The clinical trial took place at the University of Rochester.

     

    Here’s how the clinical trial was set up: All the women took the drug for the first four weeks. Then half of the women continued to take the drug and the other half took a placebo pill. The women who took the real drug for eight weeks said they saw major improvements in memory, concentration and learning.

     

    Modafinil, orginally licensed for narcolepsy, promotes wakefulness, and seems to boost brainpower, without the jittery side effects of amphetamines. The drug is popular among sleep-deprived college students, athletes and soldiers. The effects of the drug disappear within 12 hours.

     

    Larger studies are needed to confirm the results.