Exercise Seems to Ease Parkinson's-Related Depression
Mood problems can be more debilitating than movement issues, researcher says
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Researchers looked at 31 Parkinson's patients who were randomly assigned to an "early start" group that did an exercise program for 48 weeks or a "late start" group that worked out for 24 weeks. The program included three one-hour cardiovascular and resistance training workouts a week.
Depression symptoms improved much more among the patients in the 48-week group than among those in the 24-week group. This is important because mood is often more debilitating than movement problems for Parkinson's patients, said study leader Dr. Ariane Park, a movement disorder neurologist at Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center.
The study was published online recently in the journal Parkinsonism & Related Disorders.
More than half of Parkinson's patients have depression, Park noted in a university news release.
"We recommend exercise to all of our Parkinson's patients. Currently, there is no consensus on a standardized physical exercise regimen with regard to type, frequency and intensity," Park said. "The literature supports that any routine that improves physical fitness is good for Parkinson's disease -- and that can include walking, swimming, tai chi or even dancing," she added.
"We just want patients to move on a regular basis. Not only will they move better, but they will feel better," Park explained in the news release.
Parkinson's disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disorder, affects more than one million Americans.
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