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Exercise: Taking the STING out of Parkinson’s

 

In December of of 2017, the results of a clinical trial suggested that a particular  kind of exercise may have beneficial effects against certain aspects of Parkinson’s. Specifically, a high-intensity treadmill regime was found to be ‘non-futile’ as an intervention for the motor symptoms in de novo (newly diagnosed) Parkinson’s.

Recently, however, new pre-clinical research has been published which reported that when mice with particular Parkinson’s-associated genetic mutations are exercised to exhaustion, they have high levels of inflammation which can exaggerate the neurodegeneration associated with that model of PD.

So naturally, some readers are now asking “So should I be exercising or not?!?”

In today’s post we will review the results of the two studies mentioned above, and discuss why exercise is still important for people with Parkinson’s.

 


Readers are recommended to click on the image above and listen to the music (Michael Sembello’s “Maniac” from 1983) whilst reading this post.

This song was made famous by one particular scene from the 1983 movie “Flashdance” starring Jennifer Beals, in which the lead character undertook an intense dance routine. Ever since that iconic scene, exercise fanatics have long used the music to help get themselves into the mood for their workouts.

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One of my personal life goals. Source: Jobcrusher

Few experts would disagree that the benefits of exercise are many.

Adults who achieve at least 2.5 hours of physical activity per week have:

  • up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
  • up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
  • up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer
  • up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer
  • a 30% lower risk of early death
  • up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis
  • up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture
  • a 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults)
  • up to a 30% lower risk of depression
  • up to a 30% lower risk of dementia

(Source: NHS)

But what about people with PD? What do we know about exercise and Parkinson’s?

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