Exercise programs help prevent falls in Parkinson's disease patients, study shows

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Exercise programs are effective in preventing falls in individuals with Parkinson's disease, according to new research.

As many as two-thirds of people with Parkinson's experience falls each year, compared with one-third of the general community-based elderly population, according to British researchers at the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry.

The investigators conducted a randomized controlled trial of exercise regimens in Parkinson's patients with a history of falls. Despite the physical limitations endemic to Parkinson's, investigators reported a reduction in falls among the trial participants. But they stress that more study is needed.

“As well as the physical effects of a fall, people with Parkinson's also suffer psychologically, often reporting a lack of confidence across the spectrum of everyday life activities, thus affecting quality of life," said research fellow Vicki Goodwin, Ph.D.

The study was supported by the National Institute for Health Research.