Effects of a Twelve-week Aerobic and Cognitive Training Intervention on Cognitive Function in Cancer Survivors
Hydock, David S. (David Scott)
Weber, Jennifer E.
Lalonde, Trent L.
University of Northern Colorado
Type of Resources
Place of Publication
University of Northern Colorado
Chemotherapy-related cognitive impairment (CRCI) has been reported to negatively affect upwards of 75% of cancer patients. Decreased reaction times, cognitive and linguistic inabilities, decreased quality of life (QOL), decreased concentration and memory, and attentional difficulties may be due to CRCI. Exercise and cognitive training, independently, have been shown to improve functional capacity and aspects of cognitive function in various populations. However, to our knowledge there have been no studies that have examined the effects of aerobic and cognitive training on cognitive function in cancer survivors. Purpose: To examine the effects of a quasi-randomized, controlled 12-week or 36 session aerobic and cognitive intervention on cancer survivors (CAN) versus non-cancer participants (NC). Methods: CAN (n = 28) who were in treatment or had completed treatment within eight weeks and NC (n = 7) were included in this study. Pre and post physical and cognitive assessments, Beck Depression, QOL, and Piper fatigue inventories were completed. Following initial assessments, a 12-week computer-based cognitive training and flexibility training intervention was conducted. CAN participants were assigned to aerobic, flexibility, and cognitive training (CAN-AER-COG), aerobic and flexibility training (CAN-AER), flexibility training only (CAN-CON), or cognitive and flexibility (CAN-COG) training groups. The apparently healthy group completed aerobic, flexibility, and cognitive training (NC-CON). Results: No significant (p > 0.05) main effects were observed between groups for all variables of interest. Wilcoxon sign ranks tests revealed significant improvements among within-group measures. The AER-CAN-COG significantly (p < 0.05) decreased (-33%) in the Piper B subcategory. The CAN-AER group significantly (p < 0.05) increased in measures of logical memory raw and scaled scores (28%, 33%, respectively), delayed recall raw and scaled scores (39%, 27%, respectively, p < 0.05), block design raw and scaled scores (20%, 19%, respectively, p < 0.05), and letter-number sequencing scaled scores (12%, p < 0.05). Piper S scores significantly (34%, p < 0.05) decreased while the Piper C subscale trended toward significant (p = 0.06) decreases (26%). The CAN-CON group significantly (p < 0.05) increased in gender, age, and education verbal fluidity scores (750%, 320%, and 205%, respectively). VO2peak trended toward significant increased, while QOL significantly increased (16%, p = 0.05; and 26%, p < 0.01, respectively). The NC-CON group delayed recall scaled scores trended toward significant increases (12%, p = 0.07). The CAN-COG group failed to significantly (p < 0.05) increase in any measure of cognitive function. Beck depression significantly (p < 0.05) decreased (-59%) and QOL significantly (p < 0.05) increased (6%). Conclusion: Aerobic training impacted cognitive, physiological, and psychosocial measures the greatest. Individually, cognitive training and flexibility training resulted in notable cognitive, physiological, and psychosocial improvements. Yet, the combined cognitive, aerobic, and flexibility training failed to produce the synergistic and compounded results as hypothesized. Results suggest that, individually, aerobic, cognitive, and flexibility training are appropriate for addressing CRCI in this population, but combined training of this nature may actually be too demanding for those undergoing treatment.
Copyright is held by author.