Hot off the press is an article and editorial looking at the protective effect of exercise on Parkinson’s Disease. Dr Fudi Wang and his team combined the data from six studies from the United States, one from Finland and one from Sweden. The health of 544,336 (mainly men) were followed for an average of twelve years. Of these, 2,192 developed PD.
For men, it was clear that exercise reduced the risk of developing PD, but it had to be regular and vigorous exercise such as swimming, cycling, rowing or jogging. The kind of exercise that raises the heart rate and gives the lungs a good washout.
For women, the results were not so dramatic, but this may be a numbers problem. Only four of the eight studies included women.
If you have been diagnosed with PD, then don’t assume that it is too late because it isn’t. Exercise helps at all stages.
Dr Wang noted evidence from other studies that exercise seems to increase the release of chemicals that protect existing brain cells, and reduce the damage to dopamine producing cells.
It seems that exercise changes the brain in similar ways to the red and near infrared lights. And the more vigorous the exercise, the better, for women and men alike.
But please talk with your doctor before you attempt the four minute mile…
Dr Wang’s article: Link
JAMA Editorial: Link
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