London: Scientists have discovered that chemotherapy can adversely affect the brain causing thinking and memory problems in patients.
Researchers from the Moffitt Cancer Center in Florida found that chemotherapy drugs could lead to the phenomenon called `Chemo brain` in which cancer patients experience mental fogginess during and after chemotherapy, the Daily Mail reported.
Chemotherapy is a drug or combination of drugs that kill cancer cells, the new study suggested that it can cause cognitive impairment.
Researchers found that chemotherapy drugs could cause problems with concentration, forgetfulness and problems with multi-tasking.
The research analysed previous studies looking at the effect of chemotherapy on breast cancer patients.
They found that the women on average had mild impairments in verbal abilities (such as difficulty choosing words) and visuospatial abilities (such as getting lost more easily).
The study noted that the results varied across survivors, with some reporting no problems while others had more severe deficits.
"Our analysis indicated that patients previously treated with chemotherapy performed significantly worse on tests of verbal ability than individuals without cancer," study co-author Paul Jacobsen, said.
"In addition, patients treated with chemotherapy performed significantly worse on tests of visuospatial ability than patients who had not had chemotherapy," Jacobsen was quoted as saying by the paper.
The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.