AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 2, 2017

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Functional Brain Training Alleviates Chemotherapy-induced Peripheral Nerve Damage in Cancer Survivors

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Neurofeedback also results in measurable changes in targeted brain activity 

A type of functional brain training known as neurofeedback shows promise in reducing symptoms of chemotherapy-induced nerve damage, or neuropathy, in cancer survivors, according to a study by researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The pilot study is the largest, to date, to determine the benefits of neurofeedback in cancer survivors. Chronic chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is caused by damage to the nerves that control sensation and movement in arms and legs. CIPN is estimated to affect between 71-96 percent of patients one month after chemotherapy treatment, with symptoms including pain, burning, tingling and loss of feeling, explained Sarah Prinsloo, PhD, assistant professor of Palliative, Rehabilitation and Integrative Medicine. “There is currently only one approved medication to treat CIPN and it has associated muscle aches and nausea,” said Prinsloo, lead investigator of the study. “Neurofeedback has no known negative side effects, can be used in combinations with other treatments and is reasonably cost effective.”

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