Does walking protect against decline in cognitive functioning among breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy? Results from a small randomised controlled trial

Gokal, Kajal and Munir, Fehmidah and Ahmed, Samreen and Kancherla, Kiran and Wallis, Deborah (2018) Does walking protect against decline in cognitive functioning among breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy? Results from a small randomised controlled trial. PLOS ONE, 13 (11). e0206874. ISSN 1932-6203

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Abstract

Background
Cancer related cognitive impairments have been subjectively reported and objectively detected in breast cancer patients treated with chemotherapy and are known to have a profound negative impact on productivity, psychosocial well-being and overall quality of life. Moderate levels of walking are known to be of benefit to the psychosocial well-being of those affected by breast cancer and for managing cognitive impairment in healthy adults, children, and the elderly. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of a home based, self-managed, moderate intensity walking intervention on subjective and objective cognitive functioning in breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Methods
A home-based, self-managed intervention that consisted of moderate levels of walking was compared to usual care among breast cancer patients treated with chemotherapy in a randomised controlled trial. Outcome measures included changes in subjective (CFQ) and objectively detected cognitive functioning (Stroop, SART and two subscales from the WAISDigit Span and Block Design). Fifty participants were randomised to either the intervention group (n = 25), who completed 12 weeks of moderate intensity walking, or to the control group (n = 25) mid-way through chemotherapy.

Results
Compared with the control group, the self-managed walking intervention had positive effects on perceived cognitive function but not on sustained attention, executive function, memory or visual spatial skills when assessed objectively using neuropsychological measures.

Conclusion
This home-based, self-managed intervention is beneficial for protecting against perceived cognitive decline in breast cancer patients treated with chemotherapy. There is a need for further research to objectively assess cognitive decline within this population with larger sample sizes of patients.

Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN50709297

Item Type: Article
Subjects: C800 Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences > Dept. Psychology
REF UoA Output Collections > REF2021 UoA 04: Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience
Depositing User: Deborah Wallis
Date Deposited: 05 Dec 2018 11:55
Last Modified: 05 Dec 2018 11:55
URI: http://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/6690

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