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Title:Exercise duration for cognitive health in breast cancer survivors
Author(s):Awick, Elizabeth A
Director of Research:McAuley, Edward
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):McAuley, Edward
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Kramer, Arthur F; Hillman, Charles; Trinh, Linda
Department / Program:Kinesiology & Community Health
Discipline:Kinesiology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):Breast cancer
Physical activity
Acute exercise
Cognitive function
Abstract:Many breast cancer survivors report deficits in cognitive functioning. Physical activity (PA) has been associated with better processing speed and memory and may prove a useful behavioral modality for improving cognition in breast cancer survivors. The purpose of the present study was to examine the differential duration effects of acute bouts of PA on executive function and processing speed in breast cancer survivors. Breast cancer survivors (N=48, M age=56.02) completed two sessions in counterbalanced order: moderate-intensity treadmill walking and seated rest. Participants were also randomized to one of three time groups: 10 (n=15), 20 (n=16), or 30 (n=17) minutes, signifying the length of time spent walking and resting. Immediately before and after each session, women completed a battery of cognitive tasks. Within- and between-subjects repeated measures analyses of variance revealed several moderately-sized and meaningful three-way (e.g., time by activity by group) interactions. On the flanker task, women were significantly less accurate over time in the resting activity compared with the exercise activity in the 20-minute group (d = .75). On single task blocks of the task switching paradigm, women performed significant slower after resting compared with after exercising in both the 10- (d = -.96) and 30-minute (d = -.52) groups. On the processing speed task, women performed significantly faster after exercising compared with after resting in the 20-minute group (d = -.24). Upon collapsing the sample for nonsignificant three-way interactions, two significant time by activity interactions emerged. Specifically, women performed significantly faster on the 2-item Spatial Working Memory task (d = -.21) and more accurately on the 3-item Spatial Working Memory task (d = .18) after exercise compared with after rest. Notably, these effects were irrespective of time spent exercising and resting. While the optimal length of exercise for providing short-lived cognitive benefits remains unclear, this study offers some initial preliminary evidence for maintained and improved cognitive function after a bout of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise compared with seated rest in breast cancer survivors.
Issue Date:2017-04-11
Type:Thesis
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/97558
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Elizabeth Awick
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-08-10
Date Deposited:2017-05


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