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Exercise May Reduce Number of Falls in Parkinson’s Patients

Sixty percent of people with Parkinson’s disease fall every year and two thirds of those people fall repeatedly. A recent study suggests that regular exercise may reduce the number of times people with Parkinson’s fall.

Participants in the study included 231 people with Parkinson’s. Half of the group received their usual care while the other half participated in an exercise program that consisted of 40 to 60 minutes of balance and leg-strengthening exercises three times weekly over the course of six months. Most of them were performed at home, and a physical therapist monitored on average 13% of the exercise sessions.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that the people with less severe Parkinson’s who participated in the exercise program showed a 70% reduction in the number of falls compared to those who did not exercise. However, those with more severe Parkinson’s who participated in the exercise program did not show any reduction.

Researchers from the University of Sydney in Australia conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on December 31, 2014, in the journal Neurology.

Parkinson’s is a brain disorder that can cause shaking, changes in speech, and changes in gait, among other symptoms. Previous studies suggest that drinking more coffee, following a Mediterranean diet, and increasing your omega-3 intake may reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

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