Identifying patients who may be predisposed to developing chemo-brain can help oncologists alter treatment strategies in efforts to reduce or eliminate the fog.
Who are the patients at highest risk? Dr. Cimprich's team used surveys to evaluate pre-treatment cognitive function and found that fatigue is a major factor. He suggests that "early interventions targeting fatigue may improve cognitive function and reduce the distress of chemo-brain".
While the small study involved 98 patients, only 29 of which received chemotherapy, it still lays ground to understand the true nature of chemo-brain, and as Dr. Cimprich emphasizes, identifying the problem early is crucial, because early cognitive problems can become worse over time.
In her blog, Diem suggests making lists as a way to overcome her chemo-brain. And while we all know that stressful times can side track our minds and dull our spirits, until science can give us better answers, research suggests that a deep breath and a little yoga may help do the job of lifting the fog on chemo-brain.
Dr. Christopher Tokin is a surgical resident at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and a resident alumnus of the ABC News Medical Unit.