The effect of exercise training in improving motor performance and corticomotor excitability in people with early Parkinson’s disease.

Fisher BE, Wu AD, Salem GJ, Song J, Lin CH, Yip J, Cen S, Gordon J, Jakowec M, Petzinger G

The objective of this study was to obtain preliminary data on the effects of high-intensity exercise on functional performance in people with Parkinson's disease (PD) relative to exercise at low and no intensity and to determine whether improved performance is accompanied by alterations in corticomotor excitability as measured through transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).  Subjects were randomized to high-intensity exercise using body weight-supported treadmill training, low-intensity exercise, or a zero-intensity education group. A small improvement in total and motor UPDRS was observed in all groups. High-intensity group subjects showed postexercise increases in gait speed, step and stride length, and hip and ankle joint excursion during self-selected and fast gait and improved weight distribution during sit-to-stand tasks. Improvements in gait and sit-to-stand measures were not consistently observed in low- and zero-intensity groups.

The dose-dependent benefits of exercise and high-intensity exercise can normalize corticomotor excitability in early PD.

Archives of Physical Medicine and  Rehabilitation, 2008, 89(7), 1221-9

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