Originally published January 7 2015
Chemo-induced brain fog could be linked to autism
by Jennifer Lilley
(NaturalNews) Researchers from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine have discovered that the confusion and memory loss often associated with chemotherapy treatment is most likely linked to a chemo drug called topotecan, which affects the brain's ability to function properly. They also believe that long-term neurodevelopmental problems, such as those affecting people with autism spectrum disorder, might occur in the event that a person encountered the drug during brain development or throughout their life.(1)
In the study, it was discovered that topotecan can severely impede the ability of topoisomerase-1, a gene that helps create proteins which make it possible for neurons to communicate through synapses. Interestingly, when the drug was removed, synaptic communication and protein levels were restored to normal, reinforcing the idea that "chemo brain" does indeed have very real biochemical ties.(1)
The study notes:
Topotecan is a topoisomerase 1 (TOP1) inhibitor that is used to treat various forms of cancer. We recently found that topotecan reduces the expression of multiple long genes, including many neuronal genes linked to synapses and autism.(2)
It goes on to explain the harms to the brain:
Topotecan strongly suppressed inhibitory neurotransmission via pre- and postsynaptic mechanisms and reduced excitatory neurotransmission.(2)
"Many in the cancer field are focused, as they should be, on whether a drug can kill a tumor, not what the cognitive side effects might be," said Mark Zylka, PhD, associate professor of cell biology and physiology and co-senior author of the paper, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "But this study provides insights into potential serious side effects of drugs used to treat various forms of cancer. It is very good to know that at UNC we have a big effort to study patient-reported outcomes during therapy so that we can balance care for the whole person."(1)
The importance of studying how chemotherapy drugs may enter the brainThe cognitive side effects which Zylka speaks of refers to the ability for drugs like topotecan to penetrate the blood-brain barrier and subsequently wreak havoc on a healthy-functioning brain. In fact, an entire class of topoisomerase-inhibiting drugs exist; it's the hope of these UNC experts that, going forward, cancer researchers fully examine the possible ways in which these biochemicals could disrupt brain functioning and development.
"There's still a question in the cancer field about the degree to which some chemotherapies get into the brain," said Zylka. "But in our experiments, we show that if they do get in, they can have a dramatic effect on synaptic function. We think drug developers should be aware of this when testing their next generation of topoisomerase inhibitors."(1)
Indeed, numerous experts throughout the years have found that the disruption of synapses -- the point where two neurons connect and render cell communication possible -- and autism go hand in hand. Changes in synapses have been shown to greatly alter learning ability, with finding upon finding building the case that synaptic disorders are a significant component of autism.(3)
Autism "cannot be attributed solely to genetics"Experts with the National Autism Association and the National Institutes of Health believe that the "rapid rise in the rate of autism over the last 20 years cannot be attributed solely to genetics," which this latest UNC finding reinforces. The National Autism Association feels that "Other environmental exposures may trigger, or exacerbate, autism in certain children, especially those who are genetically predisposed to immune, autoimmune or inflammatory conditions."(4)
It's no secret that one such exposure believed to create or magnify pre-existing health conditions is that of vaccinations. Numerous people have expressed their belief that vaccinations are responsible for creating a host of health problems which were nonexistent prior to receiving a vaccination. In several instances, people feel that the shot is what lead to the death of a family member or friend. However, it's common knowledge that most of the mainstream media and conventional medical outlets don't embrace such thoughts, repeatedly trying to drive home the point that vaccinations are tantamount to great health.
Awareness and questioning of all medical treatments, from chemotherapies to vaccinations and everything in between, is essential if people are to maintain their good health. Yes, random adverse health consequences can occur no matter what treatment is at hand, but all too often Big Pharma and their pill-popping, shot-shoving ways are linked to adverse health effects.
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