Routine Daily Activities Beneficial in Parkinson’s Disease

Patients with Parkinson’s disease may benefit more from partaking in daily activities than an occasional strenuous exercise, a study published in Parkinsonism and Related Disorders has found. 

Nicolaas Bohnen, MD, PhD, director of University of Michigan Functional Neuroimaging, Cognitive and Mobility Laboratory, and colleagues studied whether participation in exercise (eg, swimming, aerobics) could help relieve the motor symptoms that often motivate patients with Parkinson’s to stay sedentary. The team investigated the association between the duration of both non-exercise and exercise physical activity and motor symptom severity for patients with Parkinson’s disease over a 4-week period (n=48). PET brain imaging was performed to measure dopamine levels and a questionnaire to assess the patient’s level of activity. 

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Non-exercise physical activity correlated to less severe motor symptoms. In addition, non-exercise physical activity protected motor skills for patients with varying dopamine levels. Study data revealed an inverse relationship between motor symptom severity and duration of non-exercise physical activity (P=0.0099) but not with duration of exercise physical activity (P=0.76). 

More than the exercise, the routine activities from daily living were what provided protection of motor skills, Dr. Bohnen concluded. Non-exercise physical activity may have positive effects on functional performance in Parkinson’s disease, he added. 

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