Published on July 25, 2023
Physical exercises are one of the essential approaches in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease because they prevent and slow down its development in the body. However, the mechanism behind this remains poorly understood. A new study tries to complete scientific knowledge on this topic.
Aerobic sports exercises (fast walking, running, swimming, etc.), resistance or flexibility exercises are recommended at the first signs of Parkinson’s disease, the second most widespread neurodegenerative disease in the world after Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
” Epidemiological studies show that moderate to vigorous physical activity (PA) in middle age reduces the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease (PD).reminds so High Health Authority in Parkinson’s disease support sheet, physical activity can therefore have a neuroprotective effect and slow the progression of the disease, as shown in animal models of Parkinson’s disease“.
The benefits of sports on the body of people suffering from Parkinson’s disease have therefore been proven, although we do not know exactly why sports activities help to reduce symptoms.
Slowing down Parkinson’s disease through sports
A recent study published in to the journal Science Advances and led by a team of neuroscientists from the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Italy is trying to contribute after several weeks of observing rats performing sports activities on a treadmill.
It is believed that high-intensity exercise, when performed in the early stages of the disease, slows protein aggregation, α-synucleins (read alpha-synuclein) in brain regions affected by Parkinson’s disease, especially in the substantia nigra and ventral tegmental area.
Because within these areas there are dopaminergic neurons capable of producing dopamine. A molecule that is necessary for movement control, but also for a whole range of mechanisms from the feeling of comfort to memory and concentration. However α-synucleinIn the case of Parkinson’s disease, it will accumulate in the cells that produce dopamine and lead to their death. Prevent these aggregatesα-synucleins would therefore enable, according to scientific knowledge, to slow down the progression of the disease.
And physical activity can help with that, even after you stop exercising altogether.
For the researchers behind the study, this discovery of the benefits of intense physical exercise in the early stages of the disease offers more knowledge about drug-free approaches to treating Parkinson’s disease, thereby reducing the harmful side effects of drugs on patients’ bodies and potential dependence on pharmaceutical products.
Learn more about the link between Parkinson’s disease and pesticide use: Pesticides and health effects: new scientific findings
What are the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease?
As neurologist and neurophysiologist Chantal Haussel-Hauw recalls in her book Parkinson’s disease (2022), the manifestations of the disease are not only motoric. Tremor, the most famous sign of the disease, akinesia – great difficulties and even the impossibility of performing movements, whether voluntary (writing) or involuntary (balance), or muscle stiffness are often accompanied by intellectual and psychological disorders.
Intellectual disorders related to memory, speed of task execution or concentration appear very early in the development of Parkinson’s disease, sometimes even before the first signs of motor difficulties. Added to this is persistent and severe fatigue, almost common to all people who suffer from it. Other symptoms can also undermine patients’ daily life, such as gastrointestinal symptoms or sleep, sexual, urinary, sensory problems, etc.
Many people then experience various psychological disorders: depression, anxiety, melancholy, as a response to this destabilized everyday life. A public health problem, although Parkinson’s disease is an integral part of the daily life of more than 272,000 people in France, it interferes with the lives of 25,000 new people in the country every year.
Learn more about the health benefits of sports:
Breast cancer: the protective role of physical activity
How much exercise should you do for your health when you have an office job?
Are you losing weight from sports? What do scientific studies say?
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