Parkinson’s Awareness Month is a time to look outward, not inward

Who decides which disease or cause can lay claim to a month as an awareness month? I’m just curious, because we’re about to enter April, which for some reason is Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month.

It’s not that I don’t believe that PD deserves an awareness month. My issue is that I feel like a hypocrite. I am so aware of Parkinson’s Disease, that I have been completely unaware of awareness months for any other diseases or causes in the past year.

Therefore, I think there is no better way for those of us with PD to start Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month than to raise our awareness of other diseases and health concerns. Take this opportunity to learn about challenges that others are facing; learn about prevention and health screening for other health ailments; and consider also supporting organizations that devote themselves to worthwhile causes. 
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Strength Training for PD: Forearm, Wrist and Grip

Most of us have tremors in our lower arm and wrist. In this video, we discuss strength training exercises targeting the forearm, wrist and grip … simple low intensity exercises that are a great way to start the day.

The equipment used in this video:

TheraBand FlexBar – https://www.amazon.com/TheraBand-Tendonitis-Strength-Resistance-Tendinitis/dp/B000KGOMBC/

Grip Strengthener: https://www.amazon.com/ADMA-Strengthener-Adjustable-Resistance-Rehabilitation/dp/B07DB2QL6M/

Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Dumbbells – https://www.amazon.com/Bowflex-SelectTech-Adjustable-Dumbbells-Pair/dp/B001ARYU58/

How Much Should I Exercise for Parkinson’s Disease? (Video + Presentation)

We’ve created a PowerPoint video presentation detailing exercise recommendations and related research for people with Parkinson’s Disease.

The presentation slides can be viewed interactively below:


 

The presentation slides can be downloaded by clicking on the image below:

 

Can the action of volunteering and fund raising for PD research improve your Parkinson’s symptoms today?

What is this unexpected placebo effect of volunteerism?

I’ll admit it’s an odd question to ask, “Can the action of volunteering and fund raising for PD research improve your Parkinson’s symptoms today?”

However, I believe that there is an interesting argument for how the action of volunteering and fund raising for PD research not only helps enable research that will benefit Parkinson’s patients in the future, but can also improve your Parkinson’s symptoms today.

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Exercise can improve non-motor symptoms of PD (hint: mental/cognitive function)

A recent study reminds us that exercise does more than just improve motor symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, such as tremor, gait disturbances, and postural instability. Exercise can improve non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, specifically mental and cognitive function.

According to this study:

Up to 57% of patients suffering from PD develop mild cognitive impairment within five years of their initial diagnosis, and if they survive more than ten years, the majority will eventually develop dementia.

This study reviewed earlier studies of exercise and Parkinson’s Disease.

They found 5 studies that had significant group size and included cognitive testing. There was a positive effect of aerobic exercise on memory and executive function. Combined resistance and coordination exercise helped global cognitive function. Two trials showed that coordination exercise led to improved executive function compared with that of non-exercising control subjects.

They concluded:

All modes of exercise are associated with improved cognitive function in individuals with PD. Aerobic exercise tended to best improve memory; however, a clear effect of exercise mode was not identified.

Personally, I hadn’t considered this aspect of exercise. In the short term, people with PD tend to see mobility issues as having the biggest impact on quality of life. But long term, if the majority of us are going to develop dementia, that has a much larger impact on quality of life. This review study is a good reminder on the importance of exercise.

Study press release: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-03/ip-eci030419.php

Study details: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30741688