Physical Activity May Help Improve Memory Issues In Breast Cancer Survivors

Posted at 1:33 pm on 07/11/2016 by Megha Kedia

Physical Activity May Help Improve Memory Issues In Breast Cancer Survivors

First Posted: Jul 10, 2016 05:35 AM EDT
A new study found that exercise may help in improving the memory of breast cancer survivors. 
(Photo : Matt Cardy / Getty Images)

A new study has found that exercise may help in improving memory issues in breast cancer survivors.

According to Siobhan Phillips, the main author of the study, moderate to vigorous physical activity everyday helps in reducing stress and benefits cancer survivors psychologically, thereby resulting in improved memory. Phillips is assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

Chemotherapy or radiation treatments given to cancer patients during treatment lead to memory issues, which is often termed as "chemo brain." The study has found that such memory problems may be linked to emotions and stress. Phillips claim that women who go through cancer treatment are often frightened, fatigued and just suffering from low self-confidence which affects their memory as well.

"Our research suggests these self-reported memory problems may be emotionally related," said Phillips, reported Perfscience. "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."

For the purpose of the study, the team of researchers from Northwestern University Feinberg studied self-reported memory and exercise data taken from more than 1,800 breast cancer survivors including 362 women who wore devices called "accelerometers" that tracked their movement.

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

The study results found that moderate or vigorous physical activity such as brisk walking, biking, jogging lead to less stress and fatigue in participants from both the groups. The researchers found that physical activity has psychological benefits and results in better memory.

While, the study didn't establish a direct cause-and-effect relationship between physical activity and a breast cancer survivor's issues with memory, higher levels of physical activity were linked to higher self-confidence level.

The research findings were published in the journal Psycho-Oncology.

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