Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Potential remedy for the 'mental fog' in cancer patients

Study suggests a possible way to offset chemobrain memory loss

Cancer patients have complained for years about the mental fog known as chemobrain. Now in animal studies at West Virginia University (WVU), researchers have discovered that injections of N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), an antioxidant, can prevent the memory loss that breast cancer chemotherapy drugs sometimes induce. The WVU researchers' study has just been published in the September issue of the Springer journal Metabolic Brain Disease.

Rats were given the commonly used chemotherapy drugs adriamycin and cyclophosphamide. When on the drugs, rats who were trained to prefer a light room to a dark room forgot their training. "When animals are treated with chemotherapy drugs, they lose memory," said Gregory Konat, Ph.D., professor of neurobiology and anatomy at WVU. "When we add NAC during treatment, they don't lose memory."Chosen for its antioxidant properties, NAC is a modified form of the dietary amino acid cysteine.

Jame Abraham, M.D., director of the Comprehensive Breast Cancer Program at WVU's Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, said as "chemobrain" entered the national lexicon, many patients expressed frustration about doctors not taking the complaints seriously.

"In the past, there was a lot of ignorance among doctors about chemo-induced cognitive problems," Dr. Abraham said. "In some patients, problems can persist for up to two years."

The WVU authors say as many as 40 percent of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy complain of symptoms such as severe memory and attention deficits. Previously, scientists suspected the cancer, rather than chemo drugs, might be the cause. Earlier this year, Dr. Abraham's team of researchers used MRI scans to document the extent of changes to the brain in women who received chemotherapy for breast cancer. Now the connection between drugs and memory loss is clear, and a potential remedy is suggested as well.

"At this point, we have no evidence to say that NAC is safe in patients who are getting chemotherapy," Abraham said. "We need more studies to confirm the role of NAC in patients."


1.Konat GW et al (2008). Cognitive dysfunction induced by chronic administration of common cancer chemotherapeutics in rats. Metabolic Brain Disease. DOI 10.1007/s11011-008-9100-y

2.In addition to the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, researchers from WVU's Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center and Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry collaborated on the study. The study was funded as part of a $275,000 grant over three years from the U.S. Department of Defense. Abraham is principle investigator on the studies.

Joan Robinson | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Physicists made crystal lattice from polaritons

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Thawing permafrost produces more methane than expected

20.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>