Parkinson's researchers urge cycling

Published Date: 27 Nov 12

People living with Parkinson's disease could improve their condition by cycling, a new US study claims.

Riding a bike helped to boost the connectivity between key brain regions, according to findings presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America in Chicago.

The study was carried out by Dr Jay Alberts from the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute.

He launched the study after riding a tandem bike across Iowa with a patient to raise awareness of the disease and noticing his co rider's condition improved after the ride.

Dr Alberts and his team conducted brain scans on 26 Parkinson's patients who were asked to use exercise bikes three times a week for two months to assess whether the training provided health benefits that improved their condition.

While some patients pedalled at their own pace others had motors fitted to their bikes to make them speed up their pedalling, and the team discovered those who pedalled quickly experienced a boost to nerve connections between their primary motor cortex and thalamus.

Researcher Chintan Shah, from the Cleveland Clinic, said the findings show "forced rate bicycle exercise is an effective, low cost therapy for Parkinson's disease".

People can also take part in exercise such as cycling to boost their health, while a cash plan can provide cover for everyday healthcare appointments.

Copyright Press Association 2012

Simon O'Hare

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