Predict and recover: treating cognitive damage after a brain tumor
Being diagnosed with a brain tumor can be a frightening event. There is relief if the tumor has been successfully treated. However, a technically successful operation does not necessarily mean that patients can just pick up their lives again. They will often have cognitive complaints like fatigue, memory problems, sensitivity to stimuli, and difficulty planning things.
How frequent are these complaints? Is it possible to make predictions on the risk of these complaints occurring? How does brain damage cause these cognitive complaints? And what can you do about them? Tilburg University has joined forces with the Elisabeth-TweeSteden Hospital (ETZ) in the project Predict and recover to study brain tumors and cognitive damage.
Helping patients cope with or treating cognitive complaints and dysfunctions, that is the ultimate purpose of this study. The focus of the treatment of a tumor is first of all on the tumor. From an oncological point of view it has to be, but what about the rest of the brain? That is where the healing potential is. Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to adapt to changing circumstances and to make new connections. You can not only train your muscles but also your brain. Besides training the brain, it is also possible to teach patients strategies to better cope with their cognitive damage. For instance, they can learn to better deal with fatigue and stimuli, train their memory, and plan tasks.
The first step is to map deficiencies and complaints. The next step is to identify the factors involved in the damage. Is there a connection between the complaints and the medical condition? Are there things going on in the brain that can help predict complaints in individual patients? Based on this research, researchers can estimate whether it is possible to remedy the damage. The third step is to find out how that is best done.
In more detail:
- The mindset is changing in the medical world: the focus is shifting from treating a condition to treatment combined with attention to post-operative quality of life. The experiences of the individual patient are central.
- There is international dialogue on how to deal with cognitive damage after neurological conditions.
- The ReMind app has been developed for cognitive training in the home situation.
Partners and sponsors
- Elisabeth-TweeSteden Hospital (ETZ)
- CZ Fonds
- KWF Kankerbestrijding (Dutch Cancer Society)
- Innovatiefonds zorgverzekeraars
- University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)