High-intensity exercise in Parkinson’s disease

Small improvement is reported by researchers at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

First, the details.

  • 30 people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) diagnosed in the past 3 years with Hoehn and Yahr stage 1 or 2 (symptoms without impaired balance) were studied.
  • The were randomly assigned to high-intensity exercise, low-intensity exercise, or an education group.
  • The high-intensity group used body weight-supported treadmill training and completed 24 sessions over 8 weeks.
  • The education group attended 6 education classes over 8 weeks.
  • Low-intensity exercise was not defined in the abstract.

And, the results.

  • There was small improvement in disease progression in all groups as measured by total and motor Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scales.
  • The high-intensity group showed increases in gait speed, step and stride length, and hip and ankle joint excursion during self-selected and fast gait.
  • The high-intensity group also had improved weight distribution during sit-to-stand tasks.
  • Improvements in gait and sit-to-stand measures were not consistently observed in low-intensity and education groups.
  • The high-intensity group showed lengthening in the cortical silent period (withdrawal of brain input to spinal nerves).

The bottom line?
The authors concluded that there are dose-dependent benefits of exercise, and high-intensity exercise can normalize planning, control, and execution of voluntary motor functions in early PD.”

7/23/08 22:20 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.