Nav: Home

Exercise improves memory in breast cancer survivors

July 08, 2016

CHICAGO --- Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity is related to improved subjective memory in breast cancer survivors, who often complain about memory problems, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study. It appears the physical activity alleviates stress and benefits women psychologically, which in turn aids their memory.

A surprising finding is memory problems appear to be related to the high stress load cancer survivors experience, and may not be specific to chemotherapy or radiation treatments.

"Our research suggests these self-reported memory problems may be emotionally related," said lead author Siobhan Phillips, assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "These women are frightened, stressed, fatigued, tapped out emotionally and have low self-confidence, which can be very mentally taxing and can lead to perceived memory problems."

The study will be published July 8 in the journal Psycho-Oncology.

Phillips also is a member of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

In the study, more physical activity was associated with higher levels of self-confidence, lower distress and less fatigue, which in turn is associated with lower levels of perceived memory impairment.

"We found moderate to vigorous physical activity actually benefits women psychologically and that, in turn, helps their memory," Phillips said.

Breast cancer survivors who had higher levels of moderate and vigorous physical activity --- brisk walking, biking, jogging or an exercise class -- had fewer subjective memory problems. Subjective memory is an individual's perception of her memory.

Investigators looked at memory and exercise in breast cancer survivors in two study arms: one in self-reported data for 1,477 women across the country; the other in accelerometers worn by 362 women. The findings linking improved memory to higher levels of physical activity were consistent across both groups.

-end-

The study was supported by grant F31AG034025 from the National Institute on Aging and grant K07CA196840 from the National Cancer Institute, of the National Institutes of Health.

NORTHWESTERN NEWS: http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/

Northwestern University

Related Physical Activity Articles:

Physical activity may ward off heart damage
Physical activity can lower the risk of heart damage in middle-aged and older adults and reduce the levels of heart damage in people who are obese, according to research published today in JACC: Heart Failure.
How physical activity and sedentary time affect adolescents' bones
A large prospective study in 309 adolescent boys and girls underscores the importance of physical activity for developing bone strength during growth.
Few heart attack survivors get recommended physical activity
Researchers have found that only 16 percent of heart attack survivors get the recommended amount of physical activity in the weeks after hospitalization, despite evidence that physical activity reduces the risk of having a second heart attack.
Parents' physical activity associated with preschooler activity in underserved populations
Preschool-age children from low-income families are more likely to be physically active if parents increase activity and reduce sedentary behavior while wearing movement monitors (accelerometers), according to a Vanderbilt study published today in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
AMPK -- the enzyme that makes physical activity healthy
ampk Physical activity benefits diabetics and others with insulin resistance.
Physical activity good for your health, but what's happening below the surface?
The University of Michigan was recently awarded $8.2 million from the National Institutes of Health to investigate the molecular changes that occur during and after physical activity.
Psychological well-being and physical activity in older adults
In a paper just published by researchers at Chapman University, findings showed associations between psychological well-being and physical activity in adults ages 50 and older.
Parkinson's disease patients benefit from physical activity
A comprehensive review published in the Journal of Parkinson's Disease confirms that people living with Parkinson's disease (PD) can benefit from being physically active, especially when it comes to improving gait and balance, and reducing risks of falls.
Research shows physical activity does not improve after hip replacement
New research from the University of East Anglia (UEA) shows that, surprisingly, patients' physical activity does not increase following hip replacement surgery.
The effectiveness of activity trackers and rewards to encourage physical activity
Activity trackers such as Fitbit, Jawbone, Garmin and others have become increasingly popular.

Best Science Podcasts 2017

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2017. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Oliver Sipple
One morning, Oliver Sipple went out for a walk. A couple hours later, to his own surprise, he saved the life of the President of the United States. But in the days that followed, Sipple's split-second act of heroism turned into a rationale for making his personal life into political opportunity. What happens next makes us wonder what a moment, or a movement, or a whole society can demand of one person. And how much is too much?
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Future Consequences
From data collection to gene editing to AI, what we once considered science fiction is now becoming reality. This hour, TED speakers explore the future consequences of our present actions. Guests include designer Anab Jain, futurist Juan Enriquez, biologist Paul Knoepfler, and neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris.