Center for Rehabilitation Science and Engineering

Study Information

Impact of Forced Exercise on Patients with Parkinson's disease: A Pilot Study

Abu Qutubuddin, MD

Abu Qutubuddin, MD
(804) 675-5931

Exercise therapy is known to be beneficial for the elderly in general and more recently in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) . The exact pathophysiogical mechanism of exercise and types of specific exercises beneficial to persons with PD is still open to question. Some postulate that the benefit of exercise is associated with synaptic plasticity, cascading effect of growth factors, and by reducing ancillary conditions (e.g., hypertension) that may adversely impact the brain. One limiting factor in studying the effect of exercise has been the ability of the patient with PD to maintain sufficient exercise intensity to produce appreciable benefit to the patient. Exercise intensity in this population can be limited by a number of factors to include bradykinesia and imbalance as well as general de-conditioning. Recent studies have tried to overcome these limiting factors by the use of tandem bicycles . Thus the person with PD is “forced” to maintain a higher than usually achievable level of exercise. Even more recently, a motorized single seat stationary bicycle has been used for individuals with PD to maintain a forced-exercise (FE) level without the need of a trainer. In order to gain a more extensive view of possible FE effects, the present investigation will examine the impact of FE on scales well-established with the PD population to include UPDRS score, Berg Balance Scale (BBS), as well as finger tapping and a quality of life measure (PDQ-39).