PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractParkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by dopaminergic loss in the basal ganglia of the brain. It leads to motor impairment and cognitive dysfunctions. Besides pharmacological and surgical treatments, exercise has been shown to help Parkinson’s patients cope with symptoms. The purpose of my research is to determine whether certain forms of exercise are more effective in reducing the severity of symptoms. Aerobic exercises were compared with skill-based exercises with results indicating that combining both skill-based and aerobic exercises had an influence on the promotion of neuroplasticity, demonstrating that both forms of exercise should be implemented in programs. Specific techniques were then compared to each other to determine if specific exercises are more beneficial than simply doing physiotherapy exercises. Dancing demonstrated improvements in quality of life, balance, freezing gait, and stride width. Boxing improved balance, gait, bradykinesia, and quality of life. Tai chi aided patients in improving limb strength, agility, quality of life, and gait disturbances. These results indicate greater benefits when the exercises address multiple areas of the body. However, for any exercise to be the most beneficial for the patients, they must enjoy the exercise as this will aid in maintaining long-term adherence to the program.
Degree ProgramHonors College