Physical activity improves memory in breast cancer survivors, study shows

Breast cancer survivors, who often report memory problems, benefit psychologically from moderate and vigorous physical activity, which subsequently improves their memory, according to a new study published in Psycho-Oncology.

For the study, researchers examined self-reported data from nearly 1,500 women from across the country. A second arm of the study involved 362 survivors wearing accelerometers to track their physical activity. In both groups, those who exercised regularly reported fewer memory problems.

"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," said lead author Siobhan Phillips, PhD, assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. "We found moderate to vigorous physical activity actually benefits women psychologically and that, in turn, helps their memory."

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