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AAN: Exercise Linked to Lower Parkinson Disease Risk

But benefit may apply only to older people with high levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity

MONDAY, April 23 (HealthDay News) -- Older people who engage in regular moderate or vigorous physical activity may have a lower risk of developing Parkinson disease, according to research presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Boston.

Evan L. Thacker, S.M., of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues conducted a 10-year study of 63,348 men and 79,977 women (average age 63) in the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort. During the study period, 413 subjects developed Parkinson disease.

The researchers found that subjects who exercised for at least half an hour a day at moderate to vigorous level were 40 percent less likely to develop Parkinson disease than those who exercised at light levels or did not exercise.

"This study does not prove that exercise caused the lowered risk of Parkinson disease -- it's possible that something else lowers the risk," Thacker said in a statement. "But considering all of the other benefits of exercise, it certainly doesn't hurt to make sure you get some moderate or vigorous exercise several times a week."

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