Join us on Tuesday, July 23rd from 8-9 pm ET / 7-8 pm CT / 5-6 pm PT for a Chemo Brain AppChat in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute. Participate LIVE in the conversation on the GRYT App, which is available to download for free in the Google Play and App Store. Keep reading to learn about the content of this AppChat, interesting facts about cancer and cognition, and the host Dr. Todd Horowitz.

Yes, chemo brain is real! And, chemotherapy is not a prerequisite for it. If you or your loved one has received a cancer diagnosis, this AppChat is for you.

During this AppChat you will learn about:

  • What is chemo brain? How prevalent is it?
  • What do we mean by “cognitive problems”?
  • Are there ways to minimize chemo brain?
  • What is the National Cancer Institute doing to better understand chemo brain? How can you get involved in this research?

This AppChat on the GRYT App will be hosted by cognitive psychologist and vision scientist Dr. Todd Horowitz, PhD; he studies how our brains perceive the world around us. Dr. Horowitz is a Program Director in the Division Cancer Control and Population Sciences at the National Cancer Institute.

Here are some interesting facts about chemo brain from Dr. Horowitz:

  • Cognitive problems that survivors have reported include difficulties with concentration, memory, word-finding, learning new things, and getting lost.8
  • Many studies show that patients are already functioning below normal even before they start chemo treatments. This has lead researchers to start asking how cancer itself, and/or the stress of a cancer diagnosis can be affecting cognition.6
  • It’s not just chemo: radiation therapy, endocrine therapies, anti-angiogenic treatments, and targeted therapies have also been linked to cognitive difficulties.2, 4, 5, 7
  • Some genes may make people more susceptible to cancer-related cognitive impairments.1
  • Cancer survivors have a lower chance of getting Alzheimer’s disease than the general population.3

Let’s meet our host, Dr. Todd Horowitz!

Dr. Horowitz grew up in Toledo, Ohio and earned his BS from Michigan State University. After two decades of Midwestern winters, he moved to California to study for his PhD at UC Berkeley. From 1995 to 2012, he worked at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, where he was Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology.

After nearly two decades in Massachusetts, he took a position at the National Cancer Institute, where he is now a Program Director in the Division Cancer Control and Population Sciences. His mission is to engage other cognitive psychologists and vision scientists with problems in cancer control. For example:

  • How can we help radiologists read images more accurately?
  • How can we use visual media to help communicate ideas about risk and probability to cancer patients?
  • What is the nature of the cognitive difficulties experienced by cancer survivors, and how can we best measure these problems and use that knowledge to help survivors?

He has published over 70 peer-reviewed research papers, but has never been to Disneyland.

He lives in Washington, DC with his wife Laura. He enjoys cooking, roasts his own coffee, and makes his own yogurt, granola, vanilla extract, vinegar, tonic water, and ginger ale. He is a voracious reader of fiction, particularly contemporary fiction and science fiction. He tries to take advantage of the DC area’s vibrant theater scene. He also enjoys swimming, biking, and long walks around the city; he does not enjoy winter sports.


1Ahles TA, Li Y, McDonald BC, Schwartz GN, Kaufman PA, Tsongalis GJ, Moore JH, and Saykin AJ. Longitudinal assessment of cognitive changes associated with adjuvant treatment for breast cancer: the impact of APOE and smoking. Psycho-Oncology. 2014; 23(12): 1382-1390.

2Bender CM, Merriman JD, Gentry AL, Ahrendt GM, Berga SL, Brufsky AM, Casillo FE, Dailey MM, Erickson KI, Kratofil FM, McAuliffe PF, Rosenzweig MQ, Ryan CM, and Sereika SM. Patterns of change in cognitive function with anastrozole therapy. Cancer. 2015; 121(15): 2627-2636.

3Bowles EJA, Walker RL, Anderson ML, Dublin S, Crane PK, and Larson EB. Risk of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia following a cancer diagnosis. PLoS One. 2017; 12(6): e0179857.

4Gan HK, Bernstein LJ, Brown J, Ringash J, Vakilha M, Wang L, Goldstein D, Kim J, Hope A, O’Sullivan B, Waldron J, Abdul Razak AR, Chen EX, and Siu LL. Cognitive functioning after radiotherapy or chemoradiotherapy for head-and-neck cancer. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2011; 81(1): 126-134.

5Ganz PA, Petersen L, Castellon SA, Bower JE, Silverman DH, Cole SW, Irwin MR, and Belin TR. Cognitive function after the initiation of adjuvant endocrine therapy in early-stage breast cancer: an observational cohort study. J Clin Oncol. 2014; 32(31): 3559-3567.

6Janelsins MC, Heckler CE, Peppone LJ, Kamen C, Mustian KM, Mohile SG, Magnuson A, Kleckner IR, Guido JJ, Young KL, Conlin AK, Weiselberg LR, Mitchell JW, Ambrosone CA, Ahles TA, and Morrow GR. Cognitive complaints in survivors of breast cancer after chemotherapy compared with age-matched controls: an analysis from a nationwide, multicenter, prospective longitudinal study. J Clin Oncol. 2017; 35(5): 506-514.

7McGinty HL, Phillips KM, Jim HS, Cessna JM, Asvat Y, Cases MG, Small BJ, and Jacobsen PB. Cognitive functioning in men receiving androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Support Care Cancer. 2014; 22(8): 2271-2280.

8Myers JS. Cancer- and chemotherapy-related cognitive changes: the patient experience. Semin Oncol Nurs. 2013; 29(4): 300-307.

What is an AppChat?

An AppChat is a free LIVE event that takes place on the GRYT App. You’ll find input and engagement from the community, along with expertise from speakers. AppChats are not only a great learning opportunity, but a way to connect with other members of the community like you. Check out GRYT Health on Facebook and Instagram for AppChat announcements. Questions? Email us at