NEW YORK CITY -- (01/16/2017) -- The specific cause is unknown, but experts say up to 70 percent of chemotherapy patients suffer chemo brain, a condition greatly reducing ability to think clearly. Now researchers may finally have a remedy.
Doing crossword puzzles, Melissa Canaday was struggling to remember words while also straining to locate once familiar streets in Manhattan. After breast cancer struck, Canaday was suffering from chemo brain, which drains thinking and memory skills.
Canaday described, “People’s names, I’d look at my kids and I’d be like … couldn’t come up with their name. Couldn’t come up with any name.”
The company Posit Science developed a program named Brain HQ. It offers cognitive exercises done by computer that restore mental skills, some using images while participants also respond to written or audio prompts. Studies, like that of New York University professor and cognitive neuroscientist, Gerald Voelbel, Ph.D., show these exercises have achieved the first chemo brain reversal.
“We’re making more or stronger neuro connections within the brain to make our brain more efficient to do everyday activities,” explained Voelbel.
Exercises are done for one hour, three times weekly, 40 times total. Canaday said they worked wonders after just a few sessions.
Canaday said, “I was constantly second guessing myself. Now I’m confident. If I’m going somewhere I know how to get there.”
Now crosswords are fun again, since she’s no longer searching for the words.
Studies show those brain exercises also help patients suffering significant head injuries, as well as the elderly.