CPFP Fellow, Dr. Elizabeth Salerno, received meritorious abstract and citation awards from the Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM) during their 39th Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions in April 2018. Dr. Salerno received these awards for her abstract titled, “Dose-Response Effects of Acute Aerobic Exercise on Cognitive Function in Breast Cancer Survivors,” which was also featured as a press release to leading media outlets during the meeting.
Cancer survivors often experience cognitive problems, including poor memory, loss of concentration, slower processing of information, and reduced executive function. Dr. Salerno’s study, conducted at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, explored the effects of exercise on cognitive function in breast cancer survivors. Using a sample of 48 breast cancer survivors, she and her colleagues administered a battery of cognitive tasks before and after different durations of exercise and sitting. The results showed that women either maintained or improved their performance on the cognitive tasks after some level of exercise, compared to poorer performance after sitting.
Dr. Salerno highlighted the impact of this study on populations of breast cancer survivors: “Cancer survivors tend to score worse on a wide variety of cognitive functioning tasks compared to people without cancer. These findings suggest that walking for 20-30 minutes may help breast cancer survivors maintain or improve their cognitive function. We know that exercise protects against a host of diseases already, and moderate exercise may also help breast cancer survivors protect their cognitive functioning.”