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Health Pearls - Breast Cancer Survivors and Brain Health; Extreme Prematurity and Future Health Risks

written by Thu Tran, MD,FACOG
on Wednesday, 1st February ,2017

Breast Cancer Survivors and “Chemo Brain” Long after Treatment

A large study from University of California, Los Angeles Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, showed a significant decline in cognitive functions even six months after the treatment ended. The study consisted of 581 breast cancer patients and 364 healthy people without breast cancer. Patients with breast cancer treatment in this study had more difficulty performing various tasks because of their mental decline. After six months, 36% of breast cancer subjects still experienced mental decline as compared to 13% in the healthy group. The researchers believed by acknowledging this mental decline in breast cancer patients after their treatment modalities, these patients can get help to carry on a more normal life. The researcher suggested some strategies to help improve patientsʼ memory including using sticky notes or gentle exercises like yoga.

Extreme prematurity and increased health risk in adolescence

Children who were born between 23 to 25 weeks have more chronic health problems when they grow up, including mild to moderate neurodevelopmental impairment, asthma, behavioral and social problems and low academic performance, reported by the researchers at the University Hospital of Umea in Sweden. Lung and eye disease, central nervous system injuries and infections are known complications of prematurity, which can lead to health problems later in life. Early intervention and support for these premature babies, such as engagement in social activities with other children and stimulation of brain development through early learning, might improve the outcome of their health as they grow up. Educators of these children should be made aware of the potential physical, behavior and learning problems, so that prompt and appropriate help can be given to them.

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