4 ways to alleviate chemo-induced brain fog

Chemo-brain, a commonly reported side effect of the cancer therapy, is not deeply understood, but new research is signaling that cognitive behavioral therapy and a combination of other methods could alleviate it, The Washington Post reported June 20.

This type of chemo side effect affects about 75 percent of cancer patients with 35 percent reporting a continuation of it even after treatments stop, the outlet reported. 

Neuropsychologists from Harvard Medical School in Boston told the Post that while there are no FDA-approved treatments specifically for chemo-brain, a combination of the following four techniques may help: 

  1. Cognitive behavioral therapy — Creating structure and reworking thought patterns can reduce effects of brain fog, Eric Zhou, PhD, assistant professor at Harvard Medical School told The Post.

  2. Sleep — Not getting adequate sleep may lead to amplified "physiological changes" Dr. Zhou said and could further exacerbate chemo-brain.

  3. Mindfulness — A combination of deep breathing, yoga and meditation or mindfulness practices can also reduce the effects of chemo-brain.

  4. Psychostimulants — Drugs like Adderall can stimulate the brain and aid patients as well, Dr. Zhou told the Post, and have "a significant effect" for someone experiencing symptoms of fatigue and brain fog.

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