Online games may boost brain in chemo patients

New York: Solving puzzles online can boost cognitive skills in women who`ve undergone chemotherapy, according to a new study.

Researchers from Standford University in US found breast cancer survivors who suffered from cognitive impairments due to chemotherapy, sometimes called chemo brain, showed enhanced cognitive functions after three months of playing online games.

The games targeted various cognitive skills such as verbal fluency and memory, `LiveScience` reported.

Side effects of chemotherapy include fatigue, nausea and hair loss, many cancer patients also experience cognitive problems that affect their quality of life.

The study included 41 breast cancer patients who were randomly assigned to either a group that completed computer exercises four times a week for three months, or a control group.

Exercises included mentally rotating objects, word finding, route planning and puzzle solving.

The women who played the games showed markedly larger improvements in word finding, thinking speed and verbal memory, compared to the control group.

The women who played the games also reported fewer everyday cognitive function problems, the study found.

Researchers believe the findings suggest that cancer patients with cognitive deficits might benefit from behavioural and non-pharmacological interventions such as brain training exercises.

The study was published in the journal Clinical Breast Cancer.