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Table of Contents
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 108-109

Aerobic exercise for improving cognitive function in adult brain tumor patients

Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy

Date of Submission21-Jul-2020
Date of Acceptance18-Aug-2020
Date of Web Publication26-Dec-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Chidiebere Emmanuel Okechukwu
Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases, Sapienza University of Rome, Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, Rome 00185
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/IJNO.IJNO_18_20

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How to cite this article:
Okechukwu CE. Aerobic exercise for improving cognitive function in adult brain tumor patients. Int J Neurooncol 2020;3:108-9

How to cite this URL:
Okechukwu CE. Aerobic exercise for improving cognitive function in adult brain tumor patients. Int J Neurooncol [serial online] 2020 [cited 2023 Jun 1];3:108-9. Available from: https://www.Internationaljneurooncology.com/text.asp?2020/3/2/108/305060


Aerobic exercise has been proven to be effective in ameliorating cognitive impairments associated with several brain disorders.[1] However, according to the outcome of a systematic review of 29 randomized controlled trials, aerobic exercise was proved effective as an adjunct therapy for preventing cancer-related cognitive impairments in adult cancer patients.[2] Regarding a recent pilot randomized controlled trial conducted by Gehring et al.,[3] a home-based, tutored aerobic exercise intervention for patients with Grade II and III gliomas achieved by carrying out 20–45 min of moderate-to-vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise 3 times/week for a duration of 6 months improved the cognitive performance, attention, memory, executive function, muscle strength, sleep quality, mood, cardiorespiratory fitness, and quality of life among brain tumor patients, thereby substantiating the effectiveness of aerobic exercise in ameliorating cognitive impairments and improving the quality of life in brain tumor patients which can still be retained after complex brain tumor surgery.

Brain tumor patients often experience cognitive and mood disorders which affect their quality of life, and aerobic exercise has been found to improve cognitive performance, mood, and quality of life.[3],[4] Moreover, most patients with brain tumor have poor functional capacity and cardiorespiratory fitness, while aerobic exercise enhances cardiorespiratory fitness and functional capacity, and improved cardiorespiratory fitness and functional capacity is associated with enhanced mood and cognitive functioning in brain cancer patients.[4] However, aerobic exercise prescription for brain tumor patients should be tailored and prescribed according to individual's present physical health, health history, cardiorespiratory fitness, current oncological therapy, exercise tolerance, and preference, however, in order to prevent adverse cardiac events and complications before an exercise program, a clinical exercise testing should be performed by a medical team consisting of a cardio-oncologist, physiotherapist, and certified clinical exercise physiologist for appropriate tailoring and prescription of exercise for brain cancer patients.[4] According to the American College of Sports Medicine, exercise is contraindicated in cancer patients with the following pathologies: Acute anemia, extreme fatigue and exhaustion, cardiopulmonary disease, and lymphedema.[5]

In summary, there is a need to prescribe both supervised and home-based individualized aerobic exercise regimens to adult brain tumor patients, because aerobic exercise, most especially a supervised high-intensity interval training for at least 2 weeks or more, is very effective in improving cardiorespiratory fitness and functional capacity in cancer patients,[6] and higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness and functional capacity could reduce the possibility of developing cognitive impairments, mood disorders, and cardiovascular diseases during cancer treatment. However, there is a need for further experimental studies to discover the full mechanisms regulating these effects.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Stillman CM, Esteban-Cornejo I, Brown B, Bender CM, Erickson KI. Effects of exercise on brain and cognition across age groups and health states. Trends Neurosci 2020;43:533-43.  Back to cited text no. 1
Campbell KL, Zadravec K, Bland KA, Chesley E, Wolf F, Janelsins MC. The effect of exercise on cancer-related cognitive impairment and applications for physical therapy: Systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Phys Ther 2020;100:523-42.  Back to cited text no. 2
Gehring K, Stuiver MM, Visser E, Kloek C, van den Bent M, Hanse M, et al. A pilot randomized controlled trial of exercise to improve cognitive performance in patients with stable glioma: A proof of concept. Neuro Oncol 2020;22:103-15.  Back to cited text no. 3
Cormie P, Nowak AK, Chambers SK, Galvão DA, Newton RU. The potential role of exercise in neuro-oncology. Front Oncol 2015;5:85.  Back to cited text no. 4
Wolin KY, Schwartz AL, Matthews CE, Courneya KS, Schmitz KH. Implementing the exercise guidelines for cancer survivors. J Support Oncol 2012;10:171-7.  Back to cited text no. 5
Mugele H, Freitag N, Wilhelmi J, Yang Y, Cheng S, Bloch W, et al. High-intensity interval training in the therapy and aftercare of cancer patients: A systematic review with meta-analysis. J Cancer Surviv 2019;13:205-23.  Back to cited text no. 6


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