Chemo Brain

A week or so ago I read an incredibly depressing article on chemo brain from NCI.  The particularly juicy part for me was the following section:

Findings from a preliminary study by Dr. Ahles and his colleagues at Dartmouth Medical School suggest that a form, or allele, of the APOEgene called ε4, which is associated with increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease, may be a genetic marker for increased vulnerability to chemobrain. In this study of 80 long-term survivors of breast cancer and lymphoma, participants with at least one ε4 allele had significantly lower scores on standard tests of visual memory and spatial ability and a tendency toward lower scores on psychomotor functioning than subjects who did not carry this allele.

PS we roll deep with Alzheimer peeps in the Lonon clan.  So of course I felt absolutely no alarm at reading this passage  Also the chemo brain has been prevalent the past week or so.  I don’t know if I’m not sleeping as well or if this “fun with hormones” thing I have happening with the bod is reaking more havoc than I realize but math is hard, Barbie.  I can’t finish a damn sentence.  You know how you sometimes walk into a room and can’t remember what you were going in there for?  Have you ever forgotten before you stand up fully?  Soon I’ll be communicating only with a system of grunts and pointing.  “Me want ugh!” while pointing at a bottle of wine.

Reading on they mention one patient in particular found some relief from chemobrain with the drug Adderall.  I appear to be in the market for a meth dealer.  Perhaps when I finally move to Maplewood I can set up a lab in the garage…

Anyway, moral of the story is this article caught my eye and then my breath…in a bad way.

Meanwhile, my latest issue of CSPI‘s Nutrition Action newsletter focuses on keeping your brain young.  While they of course cited exercise, lowering your blood pressure, and losing weight as best bets to “maintain your brain wiring,” they also promoted the benefits of caffeine:

Those who drank three to five cups of coffee a day in middle age had a lower risk of Alzheimer’s or other dementia 21 years later than those who drank less…or more.  Other studies in Europe found that coffee drinkers showed less of a drop in scores of memory and other tests as they aged…It’s a no-brainer to protect against the diseases of aging like diabetes, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s.

Now, I’ve been off caffeine since I had heart palpitations and fell down a flight of stairs at Sony probably 10 years ago.  Well, this morning I decided I should get back on caffeine.  I did not make it to the recommended 5 cups.  I made it through 2 cups of tea. (Coffee is DISGUSTING.)  I can’t hold still, I’m talking 900 words a minute, and its possible I’ll go into cardiac arrest at any moment.  I think I’ve peed 14 times in the past hour and I have The Flight of the Bumblebees playing incessantly in my cabeza.  But, to be fair, my brain does feel a little clearer.  MANIC, but clearer.  Granted, no one can understand me when I’m talking because I’m jumping from topic to topic and speaking as quickly as a coked out music industry executive (minus the hookers).  I’ve still got 3 cups to go…maybe I should ease into this.  Must pee again…


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