#016 – How Loneliness, Cytokines, Inflammation are Linked to Chemo Brain (CRCI) — Part 2 – Dr. Arash Asher

About This Episode:  

Picking up where our Part-1 episode with Dr. Asher left off, Host Bruce Watkins and Dr. Asher dive deeper into factors that cause and/or enhance the common experience of chemo brain, or cancer-related cognitive impairment (CRCI).  

As new evidence-based research emerges, the medical communities in the West are now joining the East medical and the holistic health communities in acknowledging the many factors that influence our ability to think, focus, and remember things. We also discuss how these symptoms can begin during our initial experience with Cancer treatments, and then continue well beyond the treatment phase. 

This is an encouraging departure from the very limited view of several decades ago, when certain medical professionals and psychologists felt the cognitive issues patients experience during illness may be due to only one factor or another.

Learning of these new influences and how they can affect our clarity of mind, our emotional state, and our self-esteem gives us more tools and opportunities to be self-empowered and to improve and enhance our lives.

In this episode, we learn how the experience of chronic loneliness can “up-regulate” our genes to produce more inflammatory agents called Cytokines. In the previous Part-1 episode, dr. Asher described how these inflammatory cytokines can cross the blood-brain barrier and wreak havoc on our concentration and memory.

If you have not yet listened to the Part-1 episode installment of the interview with Dr. Asher, you can find it here: #015 – What is Chemo Brain, Cytokines & Accelerated Aging – Part 1 – Dr. Arash Asher

Direct Link to Episode #015:  https://www.ourcancerjourney.com/2022/04/12/015-what-is-chemo-brain-cytokines-accelerated-aging-part-1-dr-arash-asher/

Dr. Asher’s in-depth research on social experiences, including chronic loneliness and the deep need we have as a species for social connection, provides great takeaways not just for people in the Cancer community, but for everyone.

Bruce wanted to highlight the profound quote Dr. Asher shared near the end of the episode from the respected Loneliness researcher Dr. John Cacioppo:

“The degree to which social connection can improve our health and our happiness, it’s both as simple, and as difficult, as being open and available to others.”


The improbably positive and up-beat podcast that explores ways to help YOU feel better, live happier, expand your self-empowerment, and enhance your life experience, IS BACK for its 2nd Season! We are so excited about the engaging guests, insightful topics and fun banter in our upcoming line-up that we had to share just a few of the memorable moments with you in advance!! 

Check out this Season 2 Trailer episode, enjoy the sonic ride, and don’t miss a new show by following the Our Cancer Journey Podcast on your apps, by following the OCJ show’s Facebook page, or by visiting the Official Our Cancer Journey Podcast Website

Episode Guest:

Dr. Arash Asher, MD – Director of Cancer Survivorship & Rehabilitation at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute at Cedars-Sinai. Dr. Asher has a special interest in the physical and rehabilitative needs of cancer survivors who continue to experience the effects of their cancer and its treatment. He has led in the development of several unique cancer survivorship programs, each with the goal of optimizing physical, psychological, and spiritual resilience for patients with cancer.  

Dr. Asher has also focused on improving outcomes for cancer patients and his expertise in the non-pharmacologic management of pain, cancer-related fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, neuropathy, exercise prescription for cancer patients, and the management of other musculoskeletal problems. Dr. Asher is active in leading or participating in several studies, including evaluating the role of Qi Gong* for chemo-induced neuropathy, the impact of humor & laughter from Improvisational Comedy on the well-being of breast cancer survivors, and several other innovative explorations.  

* – Dr. Asher partnered on the Qi Gong study with future Our Cancer Journey Podcast Guest Dr. Mao Shing Ni, Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine and best-selling author.

Dr. Asher completed a physical medicine and rehabilitation residency at the UCLA/Greater Los Angeles VA, and a cancer rehabilitation fellowship at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. He is board certified by the American Board of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, and Hospice and Palliative Medicine.

Episode Host: Bruce Watkins:

A Father, cancer survivor, producer, podcaster, writer & content creator, speaker, voice-over artist, facilitator/moderator, avid traveler, cultural explorer, humanitarian, giving-back & minimalist evangelist, music enthusiast, former Corporate people leader, and curious soul who transformed into an unapologetically optimistic and unpretentious advocate of Life-Optimization for all. 

After surviving cancer and other life-changing experiences in 2017, Bruce gave away most of his possessions, left his home behind, and began traveling, writing, volunteering, and giving back. 




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