Brain Fitness Program Offers Hope For Breast Cancer Survivors
Researchers at 28th annual National Academy of Neuropsychology (NAN) Conference in New York City this weekend will present data to help physicians understand more about cognitive remediation training in breast cancer survivors affected by "Chemobrain". Chemobrain is a well documented phenomenon of patients with varying types of cancer.
It is associated with reduced cognitive abilities; impairing memory, concentration, decision-making ability, quality-of-life, and the ability to process information rapidly. Declines in processing speed and memory often diminish the confidence of patients with Chemobrain; causing them to withdraw from interactions with their family, peers or co-workers at a time when support from these sources may be most needed.
The data being presented are part of a larger study in breast cancer survivors using the Posit Science Brain Fitness Program Classic to alleviate Chemobrain symptoms. The program, which is widely regarded as a breakthrough by the medical community, is a series of 6, specially engineered, computer based exercises designed by neuroscientists.
The results presented by lead Investigator, Sarah-Jane Kim, MA, show that cognitive training on the Posit Science Brain Fitness Program Classic significantly improved memory and sped up thinking. The breast cancer patients who did the training actually surpassed healthy, aged-matched peers in the ability to process information quickly.
Additional data presented by researcher Cate Stasio, herself a breast cancer survivor, show that cancer survivors with symptoms of Chemobrain are motivated and able to complete cognitive remediation training regardless of their treatment regimen, disease severity (stage of cancer), activity level, or self-perception of stress.
Nineteen breast cancer survivors, all women, who underwent chemotherapy and reported having Chemobrain participated in the study. Study results showed that 94% of participants experienced positive changes in their overall well-being and reported statistically significant improvements in cognitive function, stress level and health-related quality of life.
Sueann Mark, PhD, was a study participant. "When I began the training, I couldn't remember appointments, where I put things and I had trouble finding the right word," she said. Dr. Mark said she started to notice changes after using the program for just a couple of weeks. "My attention span was getting longer. I could read through entire articles that a couple of weeks ago I couldn't get through. Knowing that I was exercising my mind and reactivating it was really comforting to me."
"While further studies are needed, the implications for improved brain health in cancer patients look promising," said lead researcher, Sarah-Jane Kim. "It's a practical approach to improving the quality of life in cancer patients because it is non-invasive and therefore, does not require additional medication and does not interfere with the cancer treatment."