FRIDAY, Jan. 14, 2022 (HealthDay News) — For patients with early Parkinson disease (PD), average regular overall physical activity levels over time are associated with slower deterioration of postural and gait stability, activities of daily living, and processing speed, according to a study published online Jan. 12 in Neurology.

Kazuto Tsukita, M.D., from Kyoto University in Japan, and colleagues used data from the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative Study to examine the interaction effects of regular physical activity and moderate-to-vigorous exercise levels on the progression of clinical parameters among patients with PD, after adjustment for age, sex, levodopa-equivalent dose, and disease duration. Data were included for 237 early PD patients, with a follow-up duration of five years.

The researchers found that regular physical activity and moderate-to-vigorous exercise levels at baseline did not have a significant impact on subsequent clinical progression of PD. However, there was a significant association observed for average regular overall physical activity levels over time with slower deterioration of postural and gait stability, activities of daily living, and processing speed. There was a preferential association seen for moderate-to-vigorous exercise levels with a slower decline of postural and gait stability; work-related activity levels were mainly linked to slower deterioration of processing speed. The robustness of the results was confirmed in multiple imputation and propensity score matching. “To slow progression of the disease, it was more important for people with Parkinson’s to maintain an exercise program than it was to be active at the beginning of the disease,” Tsukita said in a statement.

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Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry; the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative public-private partnership is funded by pharmaceutical companies.

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