US Pharm. 2018;43(1):17.

According to results of a phase ll, multisite trial led by Northwestern Medicine and University of Denver scientists, high-intensity exercise three times a week is safe for patients with early-stage Parkinson’s disease and slows motor-symptom worsening.

“If you have Parkinson’s disease and you want to delay the progression of your symptoms, you should exercise three times a week with your heart rate between 80 to 85 percent maximum. It is that simple,” said colead author Daniel Corcos, professor of physical therapy and human movement sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

The randomized study, published in JAMA Neurology in December, included 128 participants aged 40 to 80 years. Participants enrolled in the Study in Parkinson Disease of Exercise were at an early stage of the disease and not taking Parkinson’s medication. Scientists examined the safety and effects of exercise three times weekly for 6 months at high intensity and moderate intensity, comparing the outcomes with a control group who did not exercise.

After 6 months, participants were rated by clinicians on a Parkinson’s disease scale ranging from 0 to 108 (higher scores equate to more severe symptoms). Participants in the study had a score of about 20 before exercise. Those in the high intensity group stayed at 20. The group with moderate exercise got worse by 1.5 points. The group that did not exercise worsened by 3 points.

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