Can exercise help patients with Parkinson disease?

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Can exercise help patients with Parkinson disease?
Can exercise help patients with Parkinson disease?

HealthDay News -- An exercise program may not reduce falls, but it could help patients with milder Parkinson disease, a study published in Neurology suggests.

To examine fall prevention, Colleen G. Canning, PhD, of the University of Sydney, and colleagues conducted a study with 231 patients with Parkinson disease. The patients were randomly assigned exercise for 40 to 60 minutes, three times per week, for six months or usual-care.

Neither the rate of falls (incidence rate ratio [IRR], 0.73; 95% CI: 0.45-1.17; P=0.18) nor the proportion of fallers (P=0.45) differed significantly between the groups. Significant interaction for disease severity in preplanned subgroup analysis was noted (P<0.001).

There were fewer falls in the exercise group compared with the control group in the lower disease severity group (IRR, 0.31; 95% CI: 0.15-0.62; P<0.001), while there was a trend toward more falls in the exercise group within the higher disease severity subgroup (IRR, 1.61; 95% CI: 0.86-3.03; P=0.13).

After adjustment for baseline performance, participants in the exercise group scored significantly better on the Short Physical Performance Battery, sit-to-stand, fear of falling, affect, and quality of life post-intervention than controls.

"These results suggest that minimally supervised exercise programs aimed at reducing falls in people with Parkinson's should be started early in the disease process," said Canning in a news release.


  1. Canning CG et al. Neurology. 2014; doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000001155
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