Another expert, Dr. E. Ray Dorsey, director of the Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in Baltimore, said exercise can give people with Parkinson's disease greater control over their health.
"This adds to increasing evidence that exercise improves walking, and when they stop they tend to do worse," said Dorsey, co-author of an accompanying journal editorial. "I hope this study adds to the evidence that exercise should be the standard of care."
Other treatments also are improving motor function in patients with Parkinson's disease. A study published in the June 20 issue of the journal Neurology showed that deep brain stimulation, which involves implantation of wires that deliver an electrical current to the brain, could improve motor function for at least three years in people with advanced Parkinson's disease.
According to Dr. Mark Stacy, professor of neurology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., about 1 million people in the United States have Parkinson's disease, and about 5 percent of them could be candidates for deep brain stimulation.
For more information on Parkinson's disease, visit the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
SOURCES: Lisa Shulman, M.D., professor and medical director, Neurology Ambulatory Center, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore; E. Ray Dorsey, M.D., M.B.A., associate professor, neurology, and director, Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Center, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore; Nov. 5, 2012, Archives of Neurology, online
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