The effects of exercise on balance in persons with Parkinson’s disease: a systematic review across the disability spectrum.

Dibble LE, Addison O, Papa E

This project sought to systematically review studies that examined the impact of exercise interventions on balance outcomes for people with Parkinson's disease, within the categories defined by the World Health Organization in the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF) model. Within the Body Structure and Function category, there was moderate evidence that exercise resulted in improvements in postural instability. Within the Activity category, there was moderate evidence that exercise was effective for improving balance task performance. In contrast, within the Participation category, there was limited evidence that exercise resulted in improvements in QOL measures or fall events.

Regardless of the strength of the evidence, the studies reviewed all report that exercise resulted in improvements in postural stability and balance task performance. Despite these improvements, the number and quality of the studies and the outcomes used were limited. There is a need for longer term follow-up to establish trajectory of change and to determine if any gains are retained long term. The optimal delivery and content of exercise interventions (dosing, component exercises) at different stages of the disease are not clear.

J Neurol Phys Ther. 2009, 33(1), 14-26

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Introduction to Spinal Cord Injury

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