Physical activity may be effective in mitigating cancer-related cognitive impairment. Prior studies show this may be a promising treatment. However, sample sizes were small and self-reported measures varied.
Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in collaboration with other researchers across the country, examined its effectiveness among 299 breast cancer survivors with a mean age of 57.
The women wore an accelerometer for 7 consecutive days to measure their average daily minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. They also completed questionnaires and neuropsychological tests via an iPad application to measure fatigue and cognitive function.
Cognitive function was modeled as two latent factors—executive function and working memory—comprising performance across 7 cognitive tasks. Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity was associated with less fatigue, which was associated with faster times on executive function tasks and greater accuracy on working memory tasks.
Although the researchers concluded that there is a need for additional research in this area, they recommend physical activity for patients.
Study findings are available at https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10549-017-4363-9.