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Running Daily May Help Slow Parkinson’s Disease, Study Finds

Intensive exercise boosts production of protein that aids neuron survival, potentially slowing symptoms

Running every day could keep Parkinson’s disease at bay, according to new research.

The recent findings give hope that new non-drug treatments like physical activity can be used to help slow down the symptoms of the disease.

Intensive exercise like a daily run on a treadmill can cause a jump in the production of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).

BDNF is a protein that plays a crucial role in the survival and growth of neurons in the brain.

By aiding neurons, BDNF can improve the brain’s ability to reorganize and change, which is essential for learning and memory.

By helping crucial neurons survive and grow, BDNF can also help decrease the spread of pathological alpha-synuclein aggregates.

This contributes to neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, as the spread causes gradual dysfunction of neurons in specific areas of the brain that are essential to motor control.

By decreasing the spread, a person’s motor skills aren’t as drastically affected.

Helping important neurons survive also helps conserve people’s ability to observe, analyze and understand visual information around them.

Brooke Null does squats while Kate Kelsch does one a one leg stance during instructor Annette Bray’s ski conditioning class in North Boulder Park on Wednesday, Oct 2, 2013.The recent findings give hope that new non-drug treatments like physical activity can be used to help slow down the symptoms of the disease. PHOTO BY PAUL AIKEN/GETTY IMAGES 

The team of scientists found that after going on a treadmill every day for four weeks, levels of BDNF in the brains of animals in the early stage of Parkinson’s disease were increased.

“In the future, it would be possible to identify new therapeutic targets and functional markers to be considered for developing non-drug treatments to be adopted in combination with current drug therapies.”

Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder that can cause issues with balance and coordination as well as cause uncontrollable movements such as stiffness and shaking.

According to Parkinson’s UK: “One in 37 people alive today in the UK will be diagnosed with Parkinson’s in their lifetime.

“Our estimates show that around 145,000 people live with a Parkinson’s diagnosis in the UK in 2020.”

“With population growth and aging, this is likely to increase by a fifth, to around 172,000 people in the UK, by 2030.”

“As Parkinson’s disease is characterized by important neuroinflammatory and neuroimmune components, which play a key role in the early stages of the disease, the research will keep on investigating the involvement of glial cells, highly specialized groups of cells that provide physical and chemical support to neurons and their environment.

“This will allow us to identify molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the observed beneficial effects.”


Produced in association with SWNS Talker

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