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Exercise intensity linked to PD symptoms improvement
Wednesday November 28, 2012

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People with Parkinsonís disease benefit from exercise programs on stationary bicycles, with the greatest effect for those who pedal faster, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America. Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute reported functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging data showed that faster pedaling led to greater connectivity in brain areas associated with motor ability.

The subjects underwent bicycle exercise sessions three times a week for eight weeks. Some patients exercised at a voluntary level and others underwent forced-rate exercise, pedaling at a speed above their voluntary rate. The researchers used a modified exercise bike to induce forced-rate activity.

fcMRI was conducted before and after the eight weeks of exercise therapy and again as follow-up four weeks later. The research team calculated brain activation and connectivity levels from the fcMRI results and correlated the data with average pedaling rate. Results showed increases in task-related connectivity between the primary motor cortex and the posterior region of the brainís thalamus. Faster pedaling rate was the key factor related to these improvements, which were still evident at follow-up.

Researchers noted that that while faster pedaling led to more significant results, not all Parkinsonís patients need to do forced-rate exercise to see improvement.


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Wednesday November 28, 2012
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