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Drug helps cognitive function in brain tumor patients after radiation

Oncology and a co-author.

"The pretreatment assessment of thinking, memory, mood and energy level revealed symptoms that clearly affected quality of life," Shaw said.

The researchers decided to try donepezil after observing that radiation-induced brain injury resembles Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia not only in the clinical symptoms but also in what is seen with brain imaging, particularly with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET).

The team hypothesized that radiation therapy for brain tumors resulted in injury to neurons that in turn caused a deficiency of a brain chemical called acetylcholine. They thought use of an AChE inhibitor such as donepezil might increase the acetylcholine level in the brain, decrease cognitive symptoms and improve mood and quality of life. Their study indicated it did.

"Additional research is needed to further evaluate donepezil and other AChE inhibitors in this population." Rapp said.

The other members of the team were Robin Rosdhal, R.N., O.C.N., and Mike E. Robbins, Ph.D., both from radiation oncology, and Ralph B. D'Agostino Jr., Ph.D., James Lovato, M.S. and Michelle J. Naughton, Ph.D., all from public health sciences.


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Contact: Robert Conn
rconn@wfubmc.edu
336-716-4977
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
17-Mar-2006


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