Friday, May 6, 2011

Chemo Brain May Last 5 Years or Longer After Stem Cell Transplant

Hi Everyone,

There's new research out, this time from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center.  Karen Syrjala, PhD, and her team of scientists have found that patients who have undergone chemotherapy prior to receiving stem cell or bone marrow transplants to treat blood cancers, may suffer from some symptoms of chemo brain that are far more severe and long lasting than has generally been reported.
Although the 92 patients involved in the five-year study improved in some areas of cognitive functioning (multitasking, information processing, decision making), almost half showed no improvement in verbal learning and retention (word recall, sequencing of numbers and letters), or in motor dexterity (inserting toothpick-sized pegs into holes as quickly as possible).

Their findings have been published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (May 2, 2011 online edition).  To read the journal abstract, click here.

Other articles about this study:

New York Times (Tara Parker-Pope on Health)

Science Daily

Thanks so much to those of you who think of me when you come across an interesting article or study about chemo brain.  I appreciate the links and all of your emails!  Keep them coming!

-- Idelle 


  1. Thanks, Idelle!

    So glad to hear from you again, the work is so important!


  2. I appreciate that, Michael, thank you.

  3. Hi Idelle,

    Great to stumble on your blog. Best of luck with your journey! Have you heard about FAMEDS fight for Avastin for the 17,500+ women with Metastatic Breast Cancer the drug is working for? Pleas sign & share:

  4. Five years! I knew it was going to last longer, stuff I've read elsewhere and a few doctors have said that effect would not last long! Had my Auto transplant in Dec/08, so I guess I could expect up to a couple more years!

    I've felt that it has gotten worse in the past six months as well. At least I now have hope for that light at the end of the tunnel that will give me my short term memory back!
    Thanks Idelle,

    Love and Hugs,
    Tim, xo

  5. Hello again, Tim, and thanks for your note. I especially liked the "Love and Hugs" part at the end! (-:

    Keep on working your memory. Eat well, exercise when you're up to it (regularly, if you can), read the tips in our book about getting quality sleep, challenge yourself cognitively, and keep stress to a minimum. All of that will help (although I just read the essay you wrote on your own blog and I see that fighting the insurance companies may well up your stress level! See Tim's blog at

    Take good care. Love and hugs to you.