What is chemo brain?
Chemo brain, also known as chemotherapy-related cognitive impairment or chemotherapy-induced cognitive dysfunction, is a term used to describe cognitive changes that can occur during or after chemotherapy treatment for cancer. Mental changes caused by chemotherapy treatment may lead to the inability to perform everyday activities.
The complications caused by chemo brain can negatively affect daily living and the ability to function independently. These complications may produce high emotional distress and a decline in mental well-being.
What causes chemo brain?
The cause of chemo brain is related to a combination of factors, including the direct effects of chemotherapy on the brain, the body’s response to cancer, and the side effects of other cancer treatments.
Some chemotherapy drugs can cross the blood-brain barrier and cause damage to brain cells or disrupt their normal functioning. Inflammation and the release of certain chemicals by the body in response to cancer can also affect the brain. Radiation therapy, hormone therapy, or surgery may contribute to cognitive changes as well.
The emotional effects of managing cancer and its treatments can exacerbate cognitive issues leading to increased stress, anxiety, and depression. The physical and mental exhaustion associated with cancer treatment can make it more challenging to think clearly and concentrate.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of chemo brain may include memory issues, difficulty concentrating, disorganization, slower mental processing, trouble multitasking, and struggling with language usage. Other symptoms involve mental fatigue, difficulty solving problems, trouble with spatial awareness, and mood changes.
How is it treated?
The results of chemo brain can vary in severity and duration. Some people experience mild symptoms that resolve within a few months, while others may have more severe or long-lasting effects. Strategies that may help alleviate symptoms include cognitive rehabilitation, medication, physical activity, stress management, and adequate rest.
Cognitive training exercises can enhance memory, attention, and problem-solving skills. Some medications, like stimulants, may be prescribed to help improve mental function. Physical activity has also been shown to benefit brain health and cognitive function. Techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, and deep breathing help reduce the stress associated with treatment. A healthy sleep routine can help alleviate fatigue and improve overall emotional well-being.
How can Brain Frequency™ help?
The Brain Frequency™ AI system is an innovative therapeutic approach to improving brain health and wellness. We use proprietary science-based technology to promote optimal brain functioning across mental, emotional, physical, and social domains. Our diagnostic technology and individualized treatment protocols help decrease or eliminate trauma-related symptoms and various mental health disorders.
The Brain Frequency™ 3 Step Treatment Process consists of; first, performing a Baseline EEG and completing Psychometric Assessments; second, conducting a Brain Frequency Consultation; and third, Initiating Treatment.
An Electroencephalogram (EEG) analyzes brain waves and produces a brain map identifying current and optimal frequencies in 19 areas of the brain. Based on the individualized brain map, Brain Frequency™ will determine possible diagnoses of various mental health disorders or brain trauma for the provider to consider during treatment. Brain Frequency™ AI software provides clinicians with an "Approval Ready" treatment plan using personalized protocols based on each patient's needs.
Those suffering from the effects of chemo brain can efficiently and effectively treat their symptoms using the Brain Frequency™ AI system. Our innovative system drastically reduces the time needed to properly diagnose and construct treatment plans leading to a faster recovery and greater quality of life.
Tammy C. Perez, M.A., NCC, LCDC, LPC
Asher A, et al. The effect of cancer treatment on cognitive function. Clinical Advances in Hematology and Oncology. 2015;13:1.
Brant JM, Stringer LH. Cognitive impairment. In Brown CG, ed. A Guide to Oncology Symptom Management. 2nd ed. Pittsburgh, PA: Oncology Nursing Society; 2015:203-228.
Brown PD, Butts AM, Parsons MW, Cerhan. Neurocognitive effects. In DeVita VT, Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA, eds. DeVita, Hellman, and Rosenberg’s Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2019:2175-2179.
Cognitive impairment in adults with non-central nervous systems cancer (PDQ). https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/side-effects/memory/cognitive-impairment-hp-pdq. Accessed Jan. 19, 2019.
DeVita VT Jr, et al., eds. Neurocognitive effects. In: DeVita, Hellman, and Rosenberg's Cancer: Principles & Practice of Oncology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Wolters Kluwer Health Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2015. http://www.ovid.com/site/index.jsp. Accessed Jan. 17, 2019.
Distress management. Plymouth Meeting, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. https://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/default.aspx. Accessed Jan. 25, 2019.
Giridhar KV (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 19, 2019
Mayo Clinic (2023, February 9). Living with chemo brain? Mayoclinic.org. Retrieved March 22, 2023, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chemo-brain/symptoms-causes/syc-20351060
National Cancer Institute (NIH). Cognitive impairment in adults with non-central nervous system cancers (PDQ®)- Patient Version. 2018. Accessed at https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/side-effects/memory/cognitive-impairment-pdq on August 5, 2019.
National Cancer Institute (NIH). Memory or concentration problems and cancer. 2015. Accessed at https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/side-effects/memory on August 5, 2019.
National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN). Survivorship. Version 2.2019. Accessed at https://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/pdf/survivorship.pdf on August 5, 2019.
Niederhuber JE, et al., eds. Neurologic complications. In: Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2014. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Jan. 17, 2019.
Survivorship. Plymouth Meeting, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. https://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/default.aspx. Accessed Jan. 17, 2019.
Vannorsdall TD. Cognitive changes related to cancer therapy. Medical Clinics of North America. 2017;101:1115.
Yust-Katz S, Khagi S, Gilbert MR. Neurologic complications. In Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Kastan MB, Doroshow JH, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff’s Clinical Oncology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:688-705.