The emergence of a hyper-connected society where patients routinely check new information about treatments and medications for their diseases has completely changed the parameters that a modern medical practice operates in large, urban centers. Patients ask many questions. Patients with Parkinson’s disease and their relatives ask what non-invasive cures might exist.
The practice of Yoga has been shown to improve the muscle strength, flexibility and balance of its regular practitioners; however, its impact dynamic factors like gait, reactive balance and proprioception was not studied until a group studied the effects of a new meditation program.A new study found that YoMed was as effective as the Proprioception Training (PT) to improve the proprioception, balance and power in older patients that had suffered at least one traumatic fall.
Sixteen patients with Parkinson’s disease were randomly assigned to either the YoMed or the Propioception Training groups and they all received 45 minutes of training, three times per week for a total number of six weeks; patients were evaluated before and after the interventions. Neither the YM or the PT interventions showed statistical significant results except for the “dynamic posturography overall score” (DMA) that was readily improved in the YM group. Thus, YoMed might be clinically useful to improve the posture abnormalities in older PD patients.
Many patients are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease based on the clinical symptoms but, given that they do not warrant starting a medication schedule yet, many of them ask physicians what they should be doing to slow the progression of this scary disease. Exercise comes to mind first. A study from the Physical Therapy department of the University of Colorado School of Medicine shows that an early start of high-intensity treadmill exercise might accomplish that benefit.
Schenkman et al. designed the “Study in Parkinson’s Disease of Exercise’ (SPARX) by studying 128 patients enrolled between 2012 and 2015, had between 40 and 80 years of age, were within five years of a diagnosis and were not exercising at moderate intensity more than 3 times per week; they were not taking any dopaminergic medication and were not expected to take it soon. They were divided into three groups as follows:
- High Intensity group of 43 patients that exercised four days a week at 80-85% of their maximum heart rate.
- Moderate Intensity group of 45 patients that also exercised four days a week but at 60-65% of their maximum heart rate.
- A control group of 40 patients that did not exercise.
The clinical outcomes were measured primarily by using the change of the motor scores in the “Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale” (UPDRS) from a baseline level and a six-month mark; the secondary outcomes were measured with the UPDRS subscores and the “Movement Disorders Society UPDRS” (MDS-UPDRS) The participants wore portable heart rate monitoring devices to measure the exercise intensity. The mean change in UPDRS score in the high intensity score was 0.3 compared to 3.2 in the control group; the mean change of UPDRS scoring in the moderate intensity group was 2.0. There were no serious collateral effects in this study. The data shows that high intensity-exercise is a viable alternative to defer the onset of grave PD signs. This phase 2 study is being followed by a more complex phase 3 study to provide more information.
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