The existence of chemo brain in the medical literature is a fairly new phenomenon, as it has only been scientifically validated within the last decade.
Clinically, patient self-reported symptoms consistent with chemo brain can be used to establish the presence of this condition in much the same manner that cancer patients self-report symptoms of fatigue, anorexia, and pain.
Other factors that may contribute to chemo brain include oxidative damage, genetic predisposition, HPA axis damage/dysfunction, and altered blood flow.
Specifically, the therapeutic possibilities of lion's mane, acetyl-L-carnitine, citicoline, curcumin, and rosemary for the management of chemo brain will be discussed.
Clinicians, regardless of specialization, are encouraged to consider the possibility of chemo brain in order to prioritize the delivery of rehabilitative strategies in an effort to mitigate or reverse its features.
Interventions to help alleviate the symptoms of chemo brain could include non-pharmacologic treatment such as antioxidants and cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Treatment methods that have been used adjunctively in addiction recovery for many years also may be effective in the treatment of chemo brain.
Above all, family members, friends, colleagues, and others need to be empathetic toward the person exhibiting symptomology of the chemo brain syndrome--being patient, tolerant, and nonjudgmental is most crucial in the re-establishment of the person's characteristic behavior.
Dr Mark Noble, from the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, who led the new research, said: "This is the first study that puts chemo brain
on a sound scientific footing, in terms of neurobiology and cellular biology.
We would need to investigate this to avoid any benefits for chemo brain being lost to a negative effect on the effectiveness of cancer treatment," he says.
Whether chemo brain is caused by the direct effect of chemotherapy on the brain isn't clear, says Dr.
Chemo brain is one of these side effects that often has been misunderstood and overlooked by many practitioners, yet it is an important part of many patients' cancer journey.