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UNMC study exploring physical activity’s relationship with cancer, cognition

The University of Nebraska Medical Center is seeking women living with breast cancer to participate in a study exploring physical activity’s relationship with cancer and cognition.

Diane Ehlers, Ph.D., assistant professor in the UNMC Department of Neurological Sciences, is conducting the study. The study is testing an exercise program, delivered in Omaha area fitness centers, in women living with breast cancer. Participants will be randomized to an exercise group or a usual care group.

Women in the exercise group will participate in a 12-week exercise program consisting of exercise sessions with a fitness trainer three times per week.

All participants will be asked to complete two testing visits and a set of questionnaires before the study begins and again three months later. Participants will also be invited to complete a brain MRI at UNMC, but this is not required for participation in the study. The following provides more details:

The study is seeking females:

  • Post-menopausal at time of breast cancer diagnosis
  • First, primary diagnosis of Stage I-IIIa breast cancer
  • Completed primary treatment (i.e., surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy). Women currently prescribed adjuvant endocrine therapy (e.g., aromatase inhibitor, estrogen receptor downregulator, selective estrogen receptor modulator) will be eligible to participate.
  • Available to attend exercise sessions three times weekly for 12 weeks
  • No scheduled travel for greater than seven consecutive days during the intervention
  • Agree to be randomized to an exercise group or usual care group
  • English reading and speaking
  • Receive physician’s clearance to participate in exercise
  • Provide written informed consent to participate in the study.

Participants are expected:

  • To attend two testing visits before the study and three months later, including:
    • Treadmill exercise test
    • Neurocognitive assessments including cognitive games and electroencephalography (EEG)
    • Questionnaires
    • Wear an activity monitor during daily life for seven days
  • Some individuals will be invited to complete a brain MRI at the Core for Advanced MRI (CAMRI) at UNMC; however, participation in this aspect of the study is not required.
  • Those in the exercise intervention group will be expected to attend 36 supervised exercise sessions with a fitness trainer three times per week for 12 weeks
    • Schedules are based on participant time and location preference and trainer availability

For more information, contact:
Lindsey Hanson at 402-559-6870, or

See more details here.

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