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PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AS A THERAPY FOR PARKINSON’S DISEASE

December 16th, 2010 Posted in Parkinson's | No Comments »

Clinical Studies
Physical activity is probably the most important adjunctive therapy for Parkinson’s disease, and can be beneficial for patients in all stages of the disease. Three key benefits of physical activity in Parkinson’s disease patients are:
1. Significant improvement in preventing the impairment in mobility and functional activity that results as a consequence of the major symptoms of the disease (i.e., bradykinesia, tremor, postural instability, and rigidity). This functional improvement is noted in all stages of the disease, even though physical activity has no direct effect on the symptoms per se.
2. Positive effects on mobility and mood. A regular and focused physical activity that includes aerobic, stretching, and strengthening activities – primarily aimed at improving flexibility and strength, rather than adding bulk – is necessary.
3. Energy preservation for the most important activities of the day. Physical activity counteracts fatigue, a major symptom of the disease.

Mechanisms
Tillerson et al showed a remarkable attenuation of the loss in striatal dopaminergic neurons with increasing levels of physical activity. However, the precise biochemical mechanisms underlying this process are currently unknown.
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