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Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2009 Dec;15(10):752-7. doi: 10.1016/j.parkreldis.2009.04.009. Epub 2009 Jun 3.

High intensity eccentric resistance training decreases bradykinesia and improves Quality Of Life in persons with Parkinson's disease: a preliminary study.

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University of Utah, Department of Physical Therapy, Salt Lake City, UT 84108, USA.


Persons with Parkinson disease (PD) often demonstrate bradykinesia during mobility tasks. Bradykinesia combined with other PD-related movement deficits may contribute to self-reported reductions in quality of life. At this time, no studies have examined the effects of resistance exercise as an intervention to reduce bradykinesia and improve self-reported quality of life. Therefore, we examined changes in muscle force production, clinical measures of bradykinesia, and quality of life following 12 weeks of a high intensity eccentric resistance exercise program in persons with mild to moderate PD. Twenty individuals with idiopathic PD were matched into an experimental or an active control group. All participants were tested prior to and following a 12-week intervention period. The experimental group performed high intensity quadriceps contractions on an eccentric ergometer 3 days a week for 12 weeks. The active control group participated in an evidence based exercise program of PD. The outcome variables were quadriceps muscle force, clinical bradykinesia measures (gait speed, timed up and go) and disease specific quality of life (Parkinson's disease questionnaire-39 [PDQ-39]). Data was analyzed using separate 2 (group) x 2 (time period) ANOVAs. Results demonstrated significant time by group interaction effects for gait speed, timed up and go, and the composite PDQ-39 score (p < 0.05). Muscle force, bradykinesia, and QOL were improved to a greater degree in those that performed high intensity eccentric resistance training compared to an active control group. Additional research is needed to determine if this type of training has long-term impact and if it results in an alteration of the natural history of mobility and QOL decline in persons with PD.

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