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Memory Loss A Big Negative With Conventional Prostate Cancer Treatment

Because prostate cancer is leading cancer men face, I was attracted to this new and unusual study that showed how testosterone deprivation affects verbal memory. Scientists found men undergoing prostate cancer therapy forget things faster than their healthy counterparts. In fact, word retention drops sharply after only two minutes among men undergoing testosterone deprivation therapy.

However, initial learning of the words, or encoding, was the same for testosterone-deprived and healthy men.

In testosterone deprivation or "ablation," the testicles are surgically removed or medications are given to block the production of male hormones, principally testosterone, that can promote prostate cancer growth. This common treatment for prostate cancer wipes out most male hormones found in the body.

The rapid drop in memory suggests the lack of testosterone affects the function of the hippocampus, a curved, elongated ridge in the brain that controls learning and memory. In fact, similar deficits -- the ability to encode information initially but forget it quickly -- is seen in individuals with well-known cognitive disorders.

What happens: Testosterone-deprived men can immediately get the information in, but then the hippocampus can't consolidate it and send it off for storage, scientists said. Men are perfectly normal when they're immediately asked to recall something, but they can't save the information as well in order to recall it over a retention interval, over a period of time. In fact, they're faster at forgetting it.

That's why I believe it is wise to not implement aggressive traditional medical strategies for this problem as prostate cancer is a relatively slow growing cancer and is easy to control if caught early.

Here's some tools you can use to fight or prevent prostate cancer:

Science Daily October 22, 2004

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