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Archive for the ‘Cancer’ Category

squamous_cell_cancerHealthDay (9/25, Preidt) reported that, according to a study published online Sept. 16 on the website of Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, “periods of short-term stress boost the immune system and protect against a certain type of skin cancer in mice.” Researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine exposed mice “for 10 weeks to doses of cancer-causing ultraviolet light. Some of the mice were subjected to nine periods of short-term stress.” The team found that “fewer of the acutely stressed mice developed…squamous cell carcinoma during weeks 11 through 21,” and stressed rodents “that did develop skin cancer had [fewer] tumors than the non-stressed mice.” However, “the protective effect of the acute stress wasn’t permanent,” and “acute stress did not lower tumor burden beyond week 26.”

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chemotherapyIn the “first of two” Personal Health “columns on cognitive problems from chemotherapy” to appear in the New York Times (8/4, D7), Jane Brody notes, “Nearly every chemotherapy patient experiences short-term problems with memory and concentration,” but approximately “15 percent suffer prolonged effects of what is known medically as chemotherapy-induced cognitive impairment.” There are, however, “some therapists [who] have attributed the symptoms of chemo brain to anxiety, depression, stress, fatigue, and fear rather than direct effects of chemotherapy on the brain and hormone balance.” Yet, “when such factors dissipate, the symptoms may not.” Now, “there is now widespread acknowledgment that patients with cognitive symptoms are not imagining things,” even though it remains unclear “what happens during cancer treatment to cause symptoms of chemo brain.” While some “think some anticancer” medications “could have direct toxic effects on neurons,” there is also “some evidence from animal and human studies” suggesting “that cancer treatment can cause biochemical or anatomical changes in the brain, or both.”

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