Baumann, F.T., Drosselmeyer, N., Leskaroski, A., Knicker, A., Krakowski-Roosen, H., Zopf, E.M., & Bloch, W. (2011). 12-week resistance training with breast cancer patients during chemotherapy: Effects on cognitive abilities. Breast Care, 6, 142–143.10.1159/000327505
To evaluate the effectiveness of resistance training on cognitive abilities in patients with breast cancer undergoing neoadjuvant chemotherapy
The intervention group (IG) participated in 60 minutes of resistance training (three sets of 8–12 reps for 10 different exercises at 55%–75% maximum effort) twice a week for 12 weeks. The control group (CG) did not receive any information. Cognitive evaluations were performed in the IG prior to them receiving the intervention and at study conclusion (one to two weeks after end of chemotherapy) for both groups.
Patients were undergoing active treatment.
Prospective, non-randomized controlled trial
The IG's d2 Test of Attention scores improved (p = 0.049), but no significant differences were observed in comparison to the CG. The IG d2 error rate decreased from baseline by 1.12 points (p = 0.017) but was significantly different from the CG at baseline (p = 0.040) and post-intervention (p = 0.019). The IG short-term verbal memory was marginally improved from baseline (p = NS) but was significantly better than CG scores (p = 0.048). IG Wilde test scores for working memory showed significant improvement from baseline (p= 0.049), but no significant difference existed between IG and CG scores.
Improvements were seen in focused attention and concentration, working memory, and verbal memory for the IG. Although no differences were observed in verbal memory and attention between the IG and CG, the CG did not have baseline evaluations performed for adequate group comparisons.
Benefits of physical activity, predominately aerobic exercise, have improved symptoms of fatigue, sleep disturbances, affect, and cognitive function. Using resistance training may improve short-term verbal memory, working memory, attention, and concentration. Further study is warranted.