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Parkinson's sufferers told to exercise

7th March 2006

Scientists in the US claim that sufferers of Parkinson's disease benefit from taking exercise.

Researchers at a number of institutions are claiming that regular physical activity can help slow down the degenerative process and improve movement.

Many experts believe that exercise has some neurological benefits for sufferers, rather than just having a physical impact.

A team from Harvard claimed last year that exercising as young adults made people 60 per cent less likely to develop the condition in later years than those who led a more sedentary early life.

Michael Zigmond, a neurobiologist at the University of Pittsburgh told "Even if we can't reverse things, I think we still hope that we can slow down or even stop the progression."

He added that possible side effects of over exertion were limited.

"If we were using ... an experimental drug, I would be the last person in the world to say go get it," he said.

"But in general, the kind of exercise we're talking about is certainly not going to hurt."

The growing body of research in the area was demonstrated by the fact that dance instructors, trainers and patients were invited to last month's National Institutes of Health's international congress of Parkinson's researchers.