Chemotherapy Destroys Brain Function
October 9th, 2010
By: Jonathan Benson
New research out of Indiana University adds to the growing list of harmful side effects caused by chemotherapy. According to scientists, the chemical cancer treatment destroys gray matter in the brain associated with cognitive function and memory.
Published in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, the study is the first of its kind to use brain imaging scans to verify the negative effects of chemotherapy on the brain. However, previous studies have already found that chemotherapy damages cognitive function, providing the basis for the popular term used to describe this condition known as “chemobrain”.
“These analyses…suggest an anatomic basis for the cognitive complaints and performance changes seen in patients,” explained Andrew Saykin, Psy.D., director of the Indiana University Center for Neuroimaging and researchers at the IU Simon Cancer Center. “Memory and executive functions like multi-tasking and processing speed are the most typically affected functions and these are handled by the brain regions where we detected gray matter changes.”
Although the effects can be temporary, gray matter destruction due to chemotherapy is often permanent. Some people become so impaired following chemotherapy that they are never able to return to work, that is if they survive the treatment at all.
According to The McGill Cancer Center in Canada, 91 percent of oncologists surveyed indicated that “all chemotherapy programs are unacceptable to them and their family members.” Instead of helping to treat cancer, chemotherapy destroys the only thing that even has a chance at preventing it: the immune system.
For an interesting look at natural alternatives to chemotherapy, check out this great interview with Dr. Albert Sanchez, the “Father of Poly-MVA” — a non-toxic alternative to chemotherapy.