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CHEMO 'KILLS BRAIN CELLS' Posted on 20 May 2007
By Emily Cook, Health Correspondent 30/11/2006

DRUGS used to fight cancer could have a harmful effect on the brain, according to a new study.

The common chemotherapy treatments can kill more healthy brain cells than the cancer ones they try to destroy - and those for breast and lung cancer and leukaemia may cause long-term damage.

US scientists at the University of Rochester say their tests may explain the mental side effects seen in many patients given Cisplatin (for breast, lung and colon cancer), Carmustine (brain tumours and Hodgkin's Disease) and Cytarabine (leukaemia).

These can include memory or vision loss, seizures and dementia - nicknamed "chemo-brain" by some doctors even though many often dismiss the last condition as unrelated to the treatment.

Now lead researcher Dr Mark Noble insists that high doses needed to kill 40 to 80 per cent of cancers may kill a large number of brain cells.
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