To say it's been a bit busy is a tad bit of an understatement. I'll spare the details except to say that April 15th is looming and I hope there will be no extension to file personal taxes this year. To say THAT has been a challenge is a massive understatement.
I'd like to share an infographic that was sent to me by DegreeLibrary highlighting their findings with regard to "brain training."
When I had my neuropsychological evaluation in 2011, I've already shared that "areas of difficulty" were identified. Since these "areas" were all around numbers, it explains the challenges previously mentioned at the opening of this post.
I participated in a clinical study using CogMed software. The results have yet to be published. The only thing I DO know is that I was using the real program. There was a placebo arm in the study and after all of my evaluations were complete (1 month and 3 months after the conclusion of the five week training), I was told I was using the real deal. This was a good thing because there were times during the training I was ready to hurl my laptop at the nearest wall.
Bottom line, although CogMed is not specifically mentioned in this chart, that particular software program was written up in Science Direct. Bottom Bottom Line. We simply do not know if these programs are helping the general population and we definitely don't know if they are helping those of us whose brains may have been damaged from cancer and/or the treatment of cancer.
I'm all about hard evidence. Good science. Right now, there is no hard evidence for any of this. And, I recall the brilliant doctor who was at the head of the study protocol telling me, "Don't waste your time with crosswords or sudoku. If you like doing them, do them for enjoyment but you won't derive any medical benefit." Of note: the crosswords and the sudokus were actually hurled at the wall. They were chemobrain torture.
I learned about working memory and short term memory. Yes, they are different. I understand lots about neuroplasticity of the brain.
I've learned much.
Mostly, I've learned that without an assistant at my side to keep me on track, to keep me from flying off the rails, I can NOT perform at the levels I could in my pre-cancer life. I know there are many of us in this boat and I know, too that it's really frustrating to constantly hear, "I didn't have cancer/chemo; what's my excuse?"
I don't know about you, but I CAN discern a chemobrain moment from a senior moment. They are different. They feel different. I will readily admit my normal senior moments.
Thanks to Aria Cahill for sharing this with me. Just like there is lots of talk about those standardized tests they administer in school which I happen to feel stifles real learning because teachers are forced to teach for the test, are we simply just getting good at the games because we're using the games? Is it translating to real world situations? I'm not so sure. There is much work to be done.
The short answer to my question, "Do brain games help chemobrain?" is quite simple.
We just don't know.
And this is food for thought......
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