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Tandem Cycling May Improve Health of Patients with Parkinson’s and Their Care Partners

Tandem Cycling May Improve Health of Patients with Parkinson’s and Their Care Partners

A recent study showed that exercise may be helpful not only for patients with Parkinson’s diseases, but for those patients’ caregivers as well.

In a study presented at the American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting last month in Denver, researchers shared results of the study in which nine patient-care partner pairs completed tandem cycling sessions twice a week for eight weeks. Each 15- to 45-minute session took place indoors on stationary tandem bicycles using virtual reality (VR) to simulate outdoor cycling routes.

Care partners and patients completed emotional and cognitive questionnaires including the Brief Resiliency Scale (BRS). Patients also completed the Parkinson’s Disease Questionnaire (PDQ-39), the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UDPRS), and a 10-meter gait speed test. Assessments were completed at baseline and 48 hours after the final cycling session.

Care partners demonstrated an improvement in resiliency and a decrease in depression scores, although patients with Parkinson’s did not. Patients demonstrated a reduction in PDQ-39 score (-4.71, P=0.27), indicating an improvement in quality of life, and a significant improvement in the mobility dimension of the scale (-13.61, P=0.02). Patients’ UDPRS scores decreased by eight points, indicating a slowing of disease progression and a decrease in the severity of motor symptoms. Additionally, patients’ 10-meter gait speeds improved by 0.27 m/s (P<0.01).

A researcher involved in the study, Jennifer Trilk, PhD, notes that larger studies will be needed to confirm these results, but that the results of this preliminary study “found that a unique cycling program that pairs people with Parkinson’s disease with their care partners can improve the physical, emotional and mental well-being of both cyclists to improve their quality of life.”

Read about the study

CND Life Sciences

CND Life Sciences is the creator of the Syn-One Test™, the world’s first commercially available test to visualize abnormal, phosphorylated alpha-synuclein in cutaneous nerve fibers. The test is an objective, evidence-based diagnostic tool to aid in the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, multiple system atrophy, pure autonomic failure, or REM sleep behavior disorder.