Thursday, September 20, 2012

Navigating Through 'Chemo Brain'*

Idelle Davidson

Does any of this sound familiar? You’re halfway through what will be six rounds of chemotherapy when you notice a dense fog rolling over your brain. You grow forgetful. The responsibility of making even small decisions overwhelms you. You find multitasking impossible; good luck completing any task at all. Driving shatters your nerves; you’re disoriented, no longer sure which direction is home.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Second-Hand Smoke and Memory Loss

In my July 5th column (Is Nicotine Good for Chemo Brain?), I wrote about the nicotine patch. Studies suggest the patch may help with memory loss.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Is Nicotine Good for Chemo Brain?

An interesting study but please don't start smoking...

In a study published in the January 10, 2012 issue of Neurology, lead author Paul Newhouse, MD at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and colleagues, found that nicotine patches may help with mild memory loss.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

UCLA Cognitive Rehabilitation Study Needs Participants

I've been asked to post information about UCLA's cognitive rehabilitation study for anyone in the Los Angeles area who might like to participate.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


The organization that sets standards for cancer care does not include cognitive issues in their patient consent document 

Last Thursday I was in Arlington, VA at the National Cancer Institute’s 6th Biennial Cancer Survivorship Research Conference. I had been asked to speak about cancer and cognition. Specifically, the organizers wanted me to comment on the “disconnect” between the research/medical community and the patient experience.

Monday, June 4, 2012

How Stress Affects Memory

We know from several studies now that some patients show cognitive decline just prior to cancer treatment.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Cedars-Sinai Program Helps Professor Emerge From Haze

Karen Saywitz, PhD
Karen Saywitz, PhD, is a cancer survivor who -- thanks to a rehabilitation program at Cedars-Sinai -- has found strategies to help with post-treatment cognitive issues. Last month, she shared her story at the Cancer Support Community (CSC) - Benjamin Center in Los Angeles. Joining her were fellow panelists: Michael Sieverts, a patient advocate and CSC qi gong instructor; Mi-Yeoung Jo, PsyD, ABPP, a Cedars-Sinai clinical neuropsychologist; Arash Asher, MD, director of the Cedars-Sinai Cancer Survivorship and Rehabilitation Program; and myself. What follows is Karen's talk from that evening. -- ID

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cognitive Effects of CMF May Last 20 Years

In a study reported yesterday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, researchers found that breast cancer patients who received the chemotherapy regimen CMF between 1976 and 1995, scored significantly worse on tests of word recall, information processing speed, and psychomotor speed (coordinating and inserting pegs into a board) than a control group of women who had no history of cancer.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Michael Sieverts' Tips/Tricks to Recover Your Life

My friend, Michael Sieverts, is a 10-year brain cancer survivor, a highly respected patient advocate, and a qi gong instructor for the Cancer Support Community. He is exceptionally well-read on the topics of brain health and cancer-related cognitive decline. ID

Michael Sieverts

By Michael Sieverts

This is a handout for the “Chemobrain” panel I moderated on February 21st at the Cancer Support Community-Benjamin Center. From my introduction that evening:

This is an incredibly important moment in the history of cancer treatment, and we appear to be at an inflection point in terms of understanding the multitude of diseases we refer to collectively as cancer. A good deal of the excitement has to do with scientific

Monday, February 6, 2012

Chemo Brain Program, Feb. 21, W. Los Angeles, 7-9 pm

I'll be on the panel with Arash Asher, MD and Mi-Yeoung Jo, PsyD, ABPP, both from Cedars-Sinai, along with Karen Saywitz, PhD, UCLA professor of Health Sciences, and Michael Sieverts, CSC instructor and moderator. Hope to see you there! Click on the flyer to enlarge.

Monday, January 23, 2012

What’s Another Name for Chemo Brain?

We follow the New York Times style guidelines and spell it as two words: chemo brain. I’ve also seen it as one word: chemobrain, or chemo-brain.  Others call it, “chemonesia,” or “cancer brain fog.”

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Have you ever been on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride at Disneyland? If so, then you may have an inkling of what goes on inside the head of my wonderful guest blogger, AnneMarie Ciccarella.
AnneMarie Ciccarella
Her story below and the posts she writes on her own blog, are a fast-moving, completely candid, hilarious, stream of consciousness that pull you right into the daily spins and turns of living with chemo brain. And now, HOLD ON TIGHT. Here’s AnneMarie. -- ID