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Exercise as medicine in Parkinson’s disease


Parkinson’s disease (PD) is an incurable and progressive neurological disorder leading to deleterious motor and non-motor consequences. Presently, no pharmacological agents can prevent PD evolution or progression, while pharmacological symptomatic treatments have limited effects in certain domains and cause side effects. Identification of interventions that prevent, slow, halt or mitigate the disease is therefore pivotal. Exercise is safe and represents a cornerstone in PD rehabilitation, but exercise may have even more fundamental benefits that could change clinical practice. In PD, the existing knowledge base supports exercise as (1) a protective lifestyle factor preventing the disease (ie, primary prevention), (2) a potential disease-modifying therapy (ie, secondary prevention) and (3) an effective symptomatic treatment (ie, tertiary prevention). Based on current evidence, a paradigm shift is proposed, stating that exercise should be individually prescribed as medicine to persons with PD at an early disease stage, alongside conventional medical treatment.

  • Parkinson's disease
  • movement disorders
  • clinical neurology
  • physiotherapy
  • physiology

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