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Exercise/memory research for Parkinson's
Date:12/12/2011

Baltimore, MD December 12, 2011. Researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the Baltimore VA Medical Center have launched a study of exercise and computerized memory training to see if those activities may help people with Parkinson's disease prevent memory changes. The type of memory that will be examined is known as "executive function;" it allows people to take in information and use it in a new way. Many Parkinson's patients develop problems with executive function, which can prevent them from working and may eventually require a caregiver to take over more of the complex cognitive tasks of daily living.

"Studies of normal aging show that memory and executive function can be improved with exercise, such as walking several days a week," explains Karen Anderson, M.D., principal investigator and an assistant professor of neurology and psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Dr. Anderson is also a neuro-psychiatrist at the Maryland Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center and a clinician in mental health at the Baltimore VA Medical Center.

She adds, "We want to see if exercise can slow or reverse some of these memory changes in Parkinson's patients. We will also investigate whether a computer game designed to improve executive function may make a difference as well. The other question is, what happens when you put the two interventions together if there is memory improvement, will it be even better than with one of the interventions? Or is it more efficient to do just one or the other? We really do not know."

The researchers, who received funding through a VA Merit Award, plan to enroll about 90 patients who will be divided randomly into three groups: exercisers walking on a treadmill, memory game players and those doing both exercise and memory games. Participants in each group will receive a memory assessment at the beginning of th
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Contact: Sharon Boston
sboston@umm.edu
410-328-8919
University of Maryland Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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