Does vigorous exercise have a neuroprotective effect in Parkinson’s Disease?

I’ve started this topic to collect references to studies that explore the neuroprotective benefits of vigorous exercise to slow the progression of Parkinson’s Disease.

Let’s start with a few quotes from the National Parkinson Foundation …

Research has shown that exercise can improve gait, balance, tremor, flexibility, grip strength and motor coordination.

There is a strong consensus among physicians and physical therapists that improved mobility decreases the risk of falls and some other complications of Parkinson’s.

Beyond this, we know that people who exercise vigorously, for example by doing things like running or riding a bicycle, have fewer changes in their brains caused by aging.

However, when it comes to exercise and PD, greater intensity equals greater benefits. Experts recommend that people with Parkinson’s, particularly young onset or those in the early stages, exercise with intensity for as long as possible as often as possible. Your doctor might recommend an hour a day three or four times a week, but most researchers think that the more you do, the more you benefit.

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The case for Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) and Parkinson’s

There is an Italian doctor, Antonio Costanini, who treats Parkinson’s patients with high doses of Vitamin B1 (Thiamin). He first published a report about his results in 2013: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3762356/

There are interesting Before/After Patient videos (in Italian, but some have subtitles)…a few are embedded below, more are available at:
http://www.ultimaedizione.eu/video-parkinson-pazienti-prima-e-dopo-il-trattamento/

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Speed bag training to fight Parkinson’s disease

I first stumbled across Dr. David H. Blatt’s website http://www.exerciseforparkinsons.com when I was searching for information about skiing and Parkinson’s. He has a number of interesting videos on his YouTube channel. But, this video is on a YouTube Channel of his friend Mark Smith.

Check it out:

David has posted additional commentary on his website:

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Exercise is the Best Medicine

This web site is a work in progress. Eventually, I hope the Parkinson FIT website will become a resource and community dedicated to exercise, fitness and wellness for people with Parkinson’s Disease.

Today, it is mostly a blog, collecting information of interest to the website’s founder. Maintaining this website helps keep me inspired to fight Parkinson’s, and hopefully it can help inspire others.

Like many of you, ever since I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, I’ve spent countless hours reviewing studies and research. There are some great ideas and great theories out there, and I remain hopeful that a cure can be found.

But if you study through the available research, especially the research involving humans, one trend is clear: For Parkinson’s Disease, Exercise is the Best Medicine. And it is available today, without a prescription.

I believe that vigorous exercise can help with Parkinson’s symptoms, and will help me live more years with an active lifestyle. There is growing evidence that exercise can affect more than just the symptoms, but that it can also slow down or halt the progression of PD.

Optimistic Best Case Scenario: Exercise promotes BDNF (Brain-derived neurotrophic factor) and neurogenesis creates new neurons in the PD effected regions. Or exercise encourages neuroplasticity and the brain creates new pathways to recover some lost functionality.

Reasonable Moderate Case Scenario: Exercise is neuroprotective and extends the life of remaining dopamine producing cells in the substantia nigra. Studies show an increase in GDNF (glial-derived neurotrophic factor), which reduces the vulnerability of remaining dopamine neurons to damage.

Pessimistic Worst Case Scenario: Exercise strengthens the muscles that Parkinson’s Disease weakens, preserving your ability to lead an active lifestyle. Exercise can strengthen balance and aid in balance recovery, preventing falls.

I created this website to share what I’ve learned and what I am learning, and to learn and share information and community with others.

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