While there are great anecdotal reports and TV stories about boxing programs for Parkinson’s Disease,particularly Rock Steady Boxing, I thought it would be interesting to learn whether or not these results have been quantitatively measured. Stephanie Combs-Miller, a professor at the University of Indianapolis Krannert School of Physical Therapy and director of research for the University’s College of Health Sciences, has been studying the effectiveness of boxing programs for Parkinson’s Disease for 9 years.
In 2011, her team published a study in the Journal of the American Physical Therapy Association titled “Boxing Training for Patients With Parkinson Disease: A Case Series” (available on-line at http://ptjournal.apta.org/content/91/1/132). It was a very limited study with six patients with idiopathic PD attending 24 to 36 boxing training sessions for 12 weeks, with the option of continuing the training for an additional 24 weeks. Very specific motor tests were assessed at regular intervals:
The outcome measures were the Functional Reach Test, Berg Balance Scale, Activities-specific Balance Confidence Scale, Timed “Up & Go” Test, Six-Minute Walk Test, gait speed, cadence, stride length, step width, activities of daily living and motor examination subscales of the Unified Parkinson Disease Rating Scale,
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