PET/CT results demonstrated statistically significant decreases in regional brain metabolism that were closely associated with symptoms of chemo brain phenomenon.
"The study shows that there are specific areas of the brain that use less energy following chemotherapy," Dr. Lagos said. "These brain areas are the ones known to be responsible for planning and prioritizing."
Dr. Lagos believes that PET/CT could be used to help facilitate clinical diagnosis and allow for earlier intervention.
Research has already shown that patients with chemo brain can benefit from the assistance of nutritionists, exercise therapists, massage therapists and counselors. In one study, cancer patients receiving chemotherapy complained of losing their ability to prepare family meals."When the researchers provided these patients with written and planned menus for each meal, the women were able to buy the groceries, prepare the meals and enjoy them with their families," Dr. Lagos said. Dr. Lagos and her fellow researchers hope that future studies will lead the way to better treatment for patients experiencing this often debilitating condition. "The next step is to establish a prospective study that begins assessing new patients at the time of cancer diagnosis," she said. "The prospective study has the potential to establish an understanding of the change in brain neurotransmitters during chemotherapy, which may lead to improved treatment or prevention." Coauthors are Jame Abraham, M.D., Gary Marano, M.D., Marc Haut, Ph.D., and Sara Kurian, M.S. Note: Copies of RSNA 2012 news releases and electronic images will be available online at RSNA.org/press12 beginning Monday, Nov. 26. RSNA is an association of more than 50,000 radiologists, radiation oncologists, medical physicists and related scientists, promoting excellence in patient care and health care delivery through education, research and technologic innovation. The Society is based in Oak Brook, Ill. ( RSNA.org) Editor's note: The data in these releases may differ from those in the published abstract and those actually presented at the meeting, as researchers continue to update their data right up until the meeting. To ensure you are using the most up-to-date information, please call the RSNA Newsroom at 1-312-949-3233.