Staying Active & News Years Resolutions

As we come up on the time of New year’s resolutions – some interesting things to think about when we look at the links in literature and research to slowed disease state and complication prevention by aggressively treating symptoms and staying active!

 

Another study to support the importance of exercise – this one based on 30 years of research!

A comprehensive review published in the Journal of Parkinson's Disease confirms that people living with Parkinson's disease (PD) can benefit from being physically active, especially when it comes to improving gait and balance, and reducing risks of falls. It concludes that health professionals should be confident about prescribing physical activity to improve the health and quality of life of PD patients. Because PD prevalence is expected to double by 2030, in part due to life-extending treatments now available, interventions aimed at minimizing morbidity are crucial to reducing the strain on the healthcare system and improving the quality of life for PD patients. With both aging and living with PD associated with increased sedentary behaviors, these results should encourage patients to become more physically active and caregivers, and healthcare providers to facilitate these activities.

Investigators conducted an in-depth analysis of 106 studies conducted over the past 30 years, which resulted in a significant number of outcome measures – 868. This provides a clear picture of the current scientific knowledge regarding to the effects of physical activity on the health of people living with PD. By grouping these outcomes into four main categories, (1) physical capacities (eg. strength, flexibility), (2) physical and cognitive functional capacities (eg. gait, mobility, cognitive functions), (3) clinical symptoms of PD (eg. rigidity, tremor, posture alterations), and (4) psychosocial aspects of life (quality of life and health management), they could determine whether physical activity had a positive effect on each category.

Physical acitivity was most effective for benefiting physical capacity and physical and cognitive functional capacity. Further research in this area is needed to determine effects on the other areas.

 

New imaging technique may make it possible to study why Alpha synuclien protein – which exists in every human brain – go from harmless to toxic.

The technique uses a technology called multi-dimensional super-resolution imaging that makes it possible to observe changes in the surfaces of individual protein molecules as they clump together. The tool may allow researchers to pinpoint how proteins misfold and eventually become toxic to nerve cells in the brain, which could aid in the development of treatment for Parkinson’s. The researchers, from the University of Cambridge, have studied how a phenomenon called hydrophobicity (lack of affinity for water) in the protein alpha synuclein – which is associated with Parkinson's- changes as it sticks together. It had been hypothesised that there was a link between the hydrophobicity and toxicity of this protein, but this is the first time it has been possible to image hydrophobicity at such high resolution. Details are reported in the journal Nature Communications.

 

Study reports increasing rates of hospital admissions for PD patients.

Although treatment for Parkinson's disease (PD) is significantly extending the lives of patients, these patients are now being admitted to hospitals at increasing rates. In a study reported in the Journal of Parkinson's Disease, researchers in Ireland have found that the top five reasons for hospital admission of PD patients are urinary tract infections, pneumonia, lower respiratory tract infections, aspiration pneumonia and femur fracture. More troubling is the stark increase in PD patients requiring long-term nursing home care on discharge, with 27% of the over 65 group discharged to a nursing home compared to 12% admitted from a nursing home. Research is now looking at ways to prevent these infections by encouraging more aggressive treatment for swallowing and respiratory concerns as well as gait changes associated with PD.