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Neurodegener Dis Manag. 2011 Oct;1(5):365-377.

Promoting exercise in Parkinson's disease through community-based participatory research.

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Carolinas Rehabilitation, Carolinas Medical Center, Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, 1100 Blythe Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28203, USA.


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a chronic, progressive, as-of-yet incurable, neurodegenerative condition affecting the nigro-striatal dopaminergic system. Emerging evidence suggests the importance of exercise in improving the trajectory of PD. Yet few people with PD are physically active. One challenge that healthcare professionals face in the 21st century is how to deliver physical activity programs to the population of individuals living with PD. A novel approach to delivering physical activity to people with PD is introduced - termed community-based participatory research (CBPR) - which engages people with PD and patient advocates as co-researchers in the development and implementation of community-based exercise programs. The authors describe the CBPR approach and provide several recent examples of community exercise programs that are steps in the direction of developing the CBPR model. This is followed by a discussion of what a more fully realized CBPR model might look like. Finally, the authors describe some obstacles to conducting CBPR and suggest strategies for overcoming them. It is argued that people with PD are an integral component of delivering the exercise intervention.

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