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The Effects of Nonpharmacologic Interventions on Cognitive Function in Patients With Cancer: A Meta-Analysis

Pok-Ja Oh
Ji Hyun Kim
ONF 2016, 43(5), E205-E217 DOI: 10.1188/16.ONF.E205-E217

Problem Identification: To evaluate the effects of nonpharmacologic interventions on cognitive functioning in adult patients with cancer.

Literature Search: EMBASE, MEDLINE®, Cochrane Library CENTRAL, CINAHL®, and Korean databases.

Data Evaluation: Cochrane’s risk of bias for randomized studies and the RevMan, version 5.3, program of the Cochrane Library were used.

Synthesis: Fourteen controlled trials with a total of 977 participants met the inclusion criteria. Overall, nonpharmacologic interventions had beneficial effects on subjective cognitive functioning and memory, but not on attention, executive functioning, and verbal ability. In the subgroup analyses by approach type, psychological interventions had a significant effect on perceived cognitive function.

Conclusions: The findings suggest that nonpharmacologic interventions, particularly psychological interventions, may have a positive impact on perceived cognitive functioning and memory in patients with cancer. Additional research with adequate power is required to determine the effectiveness of behavioral intervention as a cognitive rehabilitation strategy.

Implications for Practice: Cognitive function would be most improved in patients with cancer when a multimodal intervention approach (education, retraining, and physical activity) is employed.

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