Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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Thesis defense Nicolien van der Kolk (Donders series 459)

30 October 2020

Promotor: prof. dr. B. Bloem
Co-promotors: dr. B. Post, dr. N. de Vries-Farrouh

Towards a prescription for exercise for people with Parkinson’s disease

Health benefits of exercise are well known. Studies even suggest that for patients with brain diseases like Parkinson’s intensive exercise could provide additional benefits. Still it is an everlasting challenge to start and maintain an exercise regime. Even more so for people with Parkinson’s disease because they lack dopamine, a chemical in the brain, that makes everything go slow and reduces motivation. Researchers from the Radboud medical center wanted to know whether it was possible for people with PD to perform aerobic exercise at home and whether this impacted their symptoms. After 6 months it turned out to be feasible and effective. Compared to people who performed only stretching exercises, their physical fitness improved and their motor symptoms remained stable. A remarkable result, given the progressive nature of the disease.