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Parkinson's Research

  1. Motor Imagery for Patients Diagnosed with Stroke, Brain Injury or Multiple Sclerosis

    Researchers from the Oxford Brookes University in the United Kingdom investigated the feasibility of integrating a motor imagery program into a treatment regimen of physiotherapy and occupational therapy for patients diagnosed with stroke, brain injury or multiple sclerosis.

    Thirty inpatients and outpatients in treatment at a neurologic rehabilitation center participated in the study. A parallel-group, phase II, assessor-blind randomized controlled trial compared motor imagery embedded in treatment as usual with treatment as usual only. Subjects were assessed at baseline, after 6 weeks (post-intervention), and after 12 weeks (follow-up).

    A motor imagery strategy was developed and integrated into treatment as usual (physiotherapy and occupational therapy) which was tailored to individual goals, and applied to any activity. The control group received standard care (physiotherapy and occupational therapy).

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  2. Imagery Reduces Tremor in Parkinson’s Patients

    Researchers from the Department of Neurology at Rambam Hospital in Haifa, Israel examined whether a Parkinson’s Disease (PD) tremor, known to worsen with stress, could improve with what they refer to as “relaxation guided imagery” (RGI) and calming music.

    Twenty PD patients with moderate to severe tremor participated in sessions where relaxation techniques were implemented. Tremor was objectively monitored using an accelerometer.

    All 20 subjects in the imagery condition (RGI) had dramatically decreased  tremor (baseline 270.38 +/- 85.82 vs. RGI 35.57 +/- 43.90 movements per minute P < 0.0001).  Additionally, in 15 patients, the tremor was completely gone for 1-13 min.

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  3. Controlled pilot study of the effects of neuromuscular therapy in patients with Parkinson's disease.

    Researchers from the Atlanta School of Massage in Atlanta, Georgia find that neuromuscular therapy (NMT) improves motor and non-motor symptoms in Parkinson's disease (PD), and the effects are more durable for motor symptoms ..
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  4. Evaluation of acupuncture in the treatment of Parkinson's disease: a double-blind pilot study.

    Researchers from the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at the Bronx V.A. Medical Center, in a double-blind, randomized, pilot study, examined the effects of acupuncture on PD-associated symptoms. No significant changes were found.

    Researchers from the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at the Bronx V.A. Medical Center performed a double-blind, randomized, pilot study to determine the effects of acupuncture upon a variety of PD-associated symptoms, as compared to a control condition.

    Fourteen patients with Stage II or III PD received acupuncture or a control non-acupuncture protocol. Before and after treatment, patients were evaluated using the Motor subscale of the Unified Parkinson''s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS), the Parkinson''s Disease Questionnaire (PDQ-39), and the Geriatric Depression Scale.

    There were no statistically significant changes for the outcomes measured. In the patients who received acupuncture, nonsignificant trends toward improvement were noted in the Activities of Daily Living score of the PDQ-39 and the PDQ-39 Summary.

    Citation: Cristian A, Katz M, Cutrone E, Walker RH. Evaluation of acupuncture in the treatment of Parkinson''s disease: a double-blind pilot study. Movement Disorders. 2005 Sep; 20 (9): pages 1185-8.

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  5. Open-label trial regarding the use of acupuncture and yin tui na in Parkinson's disease outpatients.

    Researchers at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City find that tui na massage, acupuncture, and qigong improved subjective quality of life & reduced depression, but UPDRS motor scores actually worsened..

    Researchers at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City evaluated the effects of sequential tui na massage, acupuncture, and instrument-delivered qigong for patients with Parkinson disease (PD) over a 6-month period. Twenty-five patients received weekly treatments, which included tui na massage prior to acupuncture followed by instrument-delivered qigong. Each patient was assessed at baseline and at 6 months.

    Before and after treatment patients were evaluated with the Unified Parkinson Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS), Hoehn and Yahr Staging (H&Y), Schwab and England Activities of Daily Living (S & E), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Parkinson''s Disease Questionnaire (PDQ-39) quality of life assessment, and patient global assessments.

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  6. ATrial of aerobic training versus Qigong in advanced Parkinson's disease.

    A study out of Politecnica University in Ancona, Italy shows that aerobic training has a significant impact on the ability of moderately disabled PD patients to cope with exercise, but Qigong does not.

    Investigators from Politecnica University of Marche in Ancona, Italy studied the effects of aerobic training vs. Qigong in subjects with Parkinson''s disease (PD).

    In this randomized controlled trial with a crossover design, 26 PD patients in Stage II to III (Hoehn and Yahr scale), under stable medication, were randomly allocated to either an Aerobic Training group (receiving 20 aerobic training sessions followed by 20 Qigong group sessions after a 2 month interval between the interventions), or the same treatments in reverse order – Qigong first, followed by a 2-month interval, then Aerobic Training.

    Outcomes were measured by the Unified Parkinson''s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS), Brown''s Disability Scale (B''DS), six-Minute Walking Test (6MWT), Borg scale for breathlessness, Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and Parkinson''s Disease Questionnaire-39 items (PDQ-39). A spirometry test and maximum cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET) were also performed to determine the pulmonary function, the metabolic and cardio-respiratory requests at rest and under exercise. All measures were taken immediately before and at the completion of each treatment phase.

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  7. Active music therapy in Parkinson's disease.

    Researchers from the Parkinson''s Disease and Movement Disorders Centre at the University of Pavia in Italy explored the efficacy of active music therapy (MT) on improving motor and emotional functions in patients with PD. Music is believed to act as a specific stimulus through unique sensory pathways, different from movement and practice alone.

    This prospective, randomized, controlled, single-blinded study lasted 3 months and consisted of weekly sessions of music therapy (MT) and physical therapy (PT, consisting of. Thirty-two patients with PD, all stable responders to levodopa, in Hoehn and Yahr stage 2 or 3, were randomly assigned to two groups, MT or PT, of 16 patients each.

    The severity of PD symptoms was assessed with the Unified Parkinson''s Disease Rating Scale; emotional functions with the Happiness Measure; and quality of life using the Parkinson''s Disease Quality of Life Questionnaire. MT sessions consisted of choral singing, voice exercise, rhythmic and free body movements, and active music involving collective invention. The PT group used passive stretching exercises, specific motor tasks, and strategies to improve balance and gait.

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  8. Integration of motor imagery and physical practice more effective for subjects with Parkinsons

    Researchers from Meir General Hospital in Kfar Saba, Israel, investigated the efficacy of motor imagery practice for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease symptoms.

    Of 23 patients with idiopathic PD, an experimental group of 12 was treated with both imagery and physical practice, and a control group received physical exercises alone.

    Exercises for both groups were applied during 1-hour sessions held twice a week for 12 weeks. Comparable motor tasks provided to both groups included callisthenic exercises, functional tasks, and relaxation exercises.

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