Accelerated Aging After Cancer Treatment Can Lead To Mental Impairment

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Accelerated Aging After Cancer Treatment Can Lead To Mental Impairment
Accelerated Aging After Cancer Treatment Can Lead To Mental Impairment

Video: Accelerated Aging After Cancer Treatment Can Lead To Mental Impairment

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Video: Cancer, its treatment may accelerate the aging process in young patients 2023, January
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Accelerated aging after cancer treatment can lead to mental impairment

The suspicion that cancer treatment could accelerate the biological processes associated with aging in the body has been around for a long time. In women treated for breast cancer, a new study has shown that signs of biological aging are correlated with cognitive impairment. Changes appeared several years after therapy.

Accelerated aging after cancer treatment can lead to mental impairment
Accelerated aging after cancer treatment can lead to mental impairment

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The suspicion that cancer treatment could accelerate the biological processes associated with aging in the body has been around for a long time. In women treated for breast cancer, a new study has shown that signs of biological aging are correlated with cognitive impairment. Changes appeared several years after therapy.

It is known that there is a risk of long-term side effects after breast cancer treatment, including long-term weakness, pain, and cognitive impairment. Certain treatments, including radiation and chemotherapy, work by damaging the DNA of cancer cells, but their effects can extend to normal cells, accelerating the aging process.

To study how indicators of biological aging are associated with cognitive impairment in female survivors of cancer treatment, the team analyzed data from 94 patients who had received anti-cancer therapy six years earlier. The indicators of biological aging were DNA damage, decreased telomerase enzyme activity, and shortening of telomere length in some blood cells.

(Telomerase is an enzyme that is needed to maintain the length of telomeres, the ends of chromosomes needed to maintain cell health.)

The researchers found that women who had previously been treated for breast cancer and had low telomerase activity and high levels of DNA damage had lower scores on targeted activity tests. In addition, decreased telomerase activity has been associated with decreased motor skills and decreased attention.

“Our data is important because it provides new insights into how cognitive function may suffer in some after cancer treatment. This could further help develop a method to combat this problem,”said Dr. Judith E. Carroll, associate professor of psychiatry at the Causeins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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