Nearly 1.5 million Americans have Parkinson's disease. "I believe, and my research is proving, that we can use exercise therapy to promote improvements in the way the nervous system works and improve the lives of these individuals," says Angela Ridgel of Kent State University. (She received her undergraduate degree at William & Mary.)
Her reseach has shown that:
1. Cycling improves motor and cognitive function
2. In 8 weeks, exercise protocol including upper and lower-extremity exercize can improve fitness, motor and cognitive function
3. By evaluating memory, attention, problem-solving and language, researchers are determining brain responses and neurological functions associated with cognitive improvements. The hope is that these will lead to more rehab efforts.
Ridgel is developing a "smart bike" that could be individualized to suit the needs of each patient.
She will present the results of the study at the American College of Sports Medicine Conference in May.Copyright © 2015, CT Now