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A Comparison Between Effects of Specific and Nonspecific Exercises on Parkinson's Disease Progression

Presenters Name: 
Hamzah Shariff
Co Presenters Name: 
Kyle Manetz
Primary Research Mentor: 
Steven Malin
Secondary Research Mentor: 
Matthew Barrett
10:00 - 10:15
Time of Presentation: 
2019 - 10:00am to 10:15am
Room 389
Presentation Type: 
Presentations Academic Category: 
Social Science
Grant Program Recipient: 
Community Based Undergraduate Research Grant (CBURG)

CONTEXT: Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive neurodegenerative condition associated with motor deficits, cognitive decline, and social isolation. Some literature suggests that incorporation of aerobic exercise to existing pharmaceutical and surgical interventions can reduce symptom progression and improve quality of life. Our study seeks to evaluate the relationship between exercise type and quantity on several self-reported quality of life measures. METHODS: Mobile, mentally competent subjects aged 40-90 diagnosed with classical Parkinson’s Disease for at least 6 months were recruited with the help of nonprofit groups such as Rock Steady Boxing and support groups from within 200 miles of Charlottesville, VA. Subjects completed the International Physical Activity Questionnaire, a short demographics form; and four NeuroQol surveys assessing Cognitive Function, Lower Motor Function, Upper Motor Function, and Satisfaction with Social Roles and Activities. RESULTS: Data collection for this study is ongoing. Subjects will be classified according to participation in a Parkinson's-specific regimen through Rock Steady Boxing or lack thereof. Cognitive, social, upper motor, and lower motor NeuroQol subscores and superscores will be analyzed between these cohorts. Additional analysis within groups will include assessment of the role played by overall intensity and quantity of exercise, age, time since diagnosis, and gender. CONCLUSIONS: A significant positive correlation between increased physical activity or participation in Parkinson’s-specific regimens and quality of life would provide indirect support for physical activity impacting disease progression. SIGNIFICANCE: Indication of exercise as a potential therapeutic for Parkinson’s Disease could provide direction for future research toward developing non-invasive strategies for reducing symptom load.