Homeopathic Treatment Ameliorates Fatigue and Attentional Deterioration in Radiotherapy Breast Cancer Patients
05 February 2020 (online)
Patients with breast cancer experience psychosocial distress such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, and cognitive disturbances. Both fatigue and cognitive dysfunction have been observed as post-treatment outcomes of chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy.
The PPI test represents an operational measure of information-protective pre-attentional mechanisms. PPI is a neurological phenomenon in which a weaker acoustic pre-pulse (delivered via headphones) inhibits the reaction to a subsequent strong startling pulse. The reduction of the response amplitude (measured by electromyographic activity from the orbicularis oculi muscle) reflects the ability of the nervous system to temporarily adapt to a strong sensory stimulus when a preceding weaker signal is given. PPI is an objective tool for fatigue evaluation.
In a randomized, double blind, IBR-approved study, 57 female patients who underwent chemotherapy and adjuvant whole breast radiation in the radiation department at Sheba Medical Centre, and who gave written consent for participation, were included in the study: 38 received homeopathic treatment and 19 received placebo.
All patients were evaluated at the beginning, during, end and one month after completing radiotherapy for: (i) fatigue level, utilizing the Fatigue Symptom Inventory (FSI); (ii) attention performance, utilizing the Pre-Pulse Inhibition (PPI) task; and (iii) anxiety level, utilizing both the startle response test and examining the Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) differences.
At baseline, both treated and placebo groups showed similar impaired level of auditory-sustained attention (ASAT; measured by pre-pulse inhibition), probably as a consequence of recent chemotherapy.
One-month after radiotherapy completion, while the placebo ASAT performance further deteriorated, a significant improvement (to normal performance) was observed in the homeopathic treatment group.
Keywords: Homeopathy, breast cancer, fatigue, radiotherapy