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High-Intensity Treadmill Exercise Feasible in Parkinson's Disease

Mean change in Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale motor score lower for high-intensity exercise

Treadmill exercise

MONDAY, Dec. 11, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with Parkinson's disease, high-intensity treadmill exercise seems feasible and safe, according to a study published online Dec. 11 in JAMA Neurology.

Margaret Schenkman, Ph.D., from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, and colleagues conducted a phase 2 trial to examine the feasibility and safety of high-intensity treadmill exercise in patients with de novo Parkinson's disease who are not taking medication. Patients with idiopathic Parkinson's disease within five years of diagnosis were randomized to six months of high-intensity treadmill exercise (four days per week, 80 to 85 percent maximum heart rate; 43 patients), moderate-intensity treadmill exercise (four days per week, 60 to 65 percent maximum heart rate; 45 patients), or wait-list control (40 patients)

The researchers found that the exercise rates were 2.8 and 3.2 days per week at 80.2 and 65.9 percent maximum heart rate in the high-intensity and the moderate-intensity groups, respectively. The mean change in Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale motor score was 0.3 and 3.2 in the high-intensity and usual-care groups, respectively (P = 0.03). Compared with the control group, the high-intensity group, but not the moderate-intensity group, reached the predefined non-futility threshold. There were no severe anticipated adverse musculoskeletal events.

"High-intensity treadmill exercise may be feasible and prescribed safely for patients with Parkinson disease," the authors write.

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