Though the exact reason is shadowy, the cancer fighters (under chemotherapy) or the survivors usually complains of Chemo brain, a very annoying problem that affects memory and thinking process. It is also called as cancer -related cognitive impairment, chemo fog etc. Generally, the person may feel difficulty in concentrating, learning new skills, finding right words; attention defects; short-term memory loss; mental fogginess, confusions; being messy; take more time to finish simple routine tasks; impaired visual and verbal memory etc. The condition may be worsened by increased susceptibility to chemo brain and diseases like DM, anxiety, depression or thyroid dysfunctions. Though the disease cancer is deadly and feared most, the experience of chemo brain is worse, say the affected people and their bystanders. When the main disease affects the person’s physical health and mental stability, chemo brain adds to it by debilitating the person even more. In some people, the chemo brain makes them more dependent than the cancer itself. Apart from that, chemo brain leads to serious mental problems that affect the person’s confidence and self-esteem. It may lead to other psychiatric problems like depression or anxiety.
Causes of Chemo brain
The exact reason for chemo brain is unknown, but the probable causes may be cancer in brain or when a malignancy metastasizes into brain the changes develop. Excessive or overdose of radiation therapy, older age, associated mental stress etc can worsen the condition. The duration of the problem varies with each person.
Treatment of Chemo brain
No approved treatment is available for chemo brain. The best remedy is coping with the problem. It is found to be a temporary issue following chemotherapy. Some techniques include brain exercises (e.g., puzzles), preparing to-do list, music therapy to calm down the mind, regular physical exercise, ensuring sound sleep for at least 7 hours etc may be helpful.
Complications of chemo brain
It is not easy to differentiate whether the complications are due to cancer, brain metastasis or chemo brain. But serious complications ranging from personality disorders to shrinkage of brain areas are observed in patients with chemo brain.
Preventive measures of Chemo brain
Best preventive measure is to maintain general health and normal body weight as much as possible despite the stage of cancer.
Yoga asanas and suitable meditation under the guidance of an instructor are advantageous. Pranayama techniques that boost memory power, counselling therapies etc can also be practiced.
Ayurvedic Concept of Chemo brain
The condition is not exactly mentioned but the clinical correlation can be with Vishaja unmada or gara visha. The effect of garavisha develops when the circulatory system gets in contact with combination poisons through enteral or parenteral route and when that leads to psychotic problems the condition is known as vishaja unmada.
Ayurvedic Nidana of Chemo brain
Visha – poisoning
Ayurvedic treatment for Chemo brain
Removing the effect of poison from the body (nirvisheekarana) is the first line of treatment.
Raktaprasadana – clearing the vitiated Raktadhatu(circulatory system and associated tissues)
Aamapachana – removal of metabolic toxins
Agnideepana – enhancing the digestion
Brumhana & ojaskara – strengthening the body
Saantwana – counselling
Sadvrata & daivavyapasraya – rituals and good behaviour & regimens for stress relief
Herbal Preparations for Chemo brain
Vasant Kusumakar Ras
Diet & Regimen
Food should include easily digestible, fresh warm and home made items
Avoid spicy pungent and hot food items.
Avoid dairy products if allergic
Intake of Madhura & tikta rasa is indicated.
Avoid oily & sticky food items.
Maintain normal body weight & a regular sleep schedule.
Yoga & Pranayama
Chemo brain can be managed well with the help of Yoga postures and pranayama techniques with expert supervision. It is recommended if the patient is generally having a moderate to good health status.
Yoga postures like Vrikshasana, Parvatasana, Savasana, Bhujangasana, Vajrasana etc will do good in various stages of chemo brain
Anulom vilom and Seetali pranayama breathing techniques are found helpful in reducing the discomforts
The Food and Drug Administration, United States has not evaluated these statements. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please consult your GP before the intake.
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