Call Our HELPLINE: 1-800-4PD-INFO (473-4636)

NPF Study Finds that Regular Exercise Can Slow Decline in Quality of Life

Data from the Parkinson’s Outcomes Project Presented at the 19th International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders

MIAMI, June 17, 2015—Data released today from the National Parkinson Foundation’s (NPF) Parkinson’s Outcomes Project shows that people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) who start exercising earlier experience a significant slower decline in quality of life than those who start later. The study is being presented today by NPF researchers at the 19th International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders in San Diego, CA. 

“This study makes it clear that everyone with Parkinson’s disease should be exercising. Patients suffer when they delay starting their exercise, and it doesn’t seem to matter what they do, they benefit from just getting up and moving,” said Michael S. Okun, MD, NPF’s National Medical Director. 

Researchers looked at data on nearly 3,000 patients receiving care for three years at NPF Centers of Excellence participating in the Parkinson’s Outcomes Project—the largest clinical study of Parkinson’s ever conducted. Over 1,300 of the study participants reported little regular exercise at the beginning of the study. Five hundred of those individuals began exercising greater than 2.5 hours per week within the next two years. The researchers compared participants who exercised regularly for the entire two years, to people who didn’t exercise at the beginning of the study, but then started to exercise regularly.

In this study, they didn’t separate what types of exercise were done, just the total exercise reported. Quality of life scores were compared using the Parkinson’s Disease Questionnaire (PDQ-39). The PDQ-39 is a self-reported questionnaire that measures the impact of PD on daily life through multiple factors, including mood, movement and social interaction.  Over the two-year study period, the PDQ-39 scores worsened 1.4 points in the early starters and 3.2 points in the late starters.

“This analysis is interesting because it is structured as a ‘delayed start’ trial, comparing people who start early versus those who start late.  This design is the standard approach to show an intervention slows the disease: if it just improved symptoms, people who start late would get the same benefit as those who start early,” explained Peter Schmidt, PhD, NPF’s Senior Vice President and Chief Mission Officer and an author of the study.  “We found that people who start exercise early get more benefit than those who start late.”

Lead study author Miriam Rafferty, PT, DPT, whose doctoral research at the University of Illinois at Chicago focuses on exercise and Parkinson’s, noted that this difference of almost two points on the PDQ-39 could be enough to make everyday activities feel harder.

“This is great news that people can have a positive impact on the course of their own disease,” said Joyce Oberdorf, NPF’s President and CEO. “It is tremendously empowering.” 

NPF's Parkinson's Outcomes Project is the largest clinical study of Parkinson's disease ever conducted with more than 8,000 patients with PD who receive care at 20 NPF Centers of Excellence in four countries. NPF issued care recommendations in 2012 around the issue of depression A mood disorder whose symptoms can include a persistent sad or empty mood, feelings of hopelessness or pessimism, irritability and loss of interest or pleasure in previously enjoyable activities. in PD after finding that it was undiagnosed in the patients tracked through the study.  The goal of the Parkinson's Outcomes Project is to continue to identify best care practices for Parkinson's that could help get better care to more people affected by the disease.   For more information about NPF's research initiatives, visit www.parkinson.org/research.

About Parkinson's Disease (PD)
Affecting an estimated one million Americans and four to six million worldwide, PD is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer's and is the 14th leading cause of death in the United States. It is associated with a progressive loss of motor control (e.g., shaking or tremor at rest and lack of facial expression) as well as non-motor symptoms (e.g., depression and anxiety A feeling of nervousness, worried thoughts and physical distress.). There is no cure for PD and 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the United States alone.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Parkinson’s Foundation Earns 4-Star Rating from Charity Navigator
Monday, October 22, 2018

NEW YORK AND MIAMI—October 22, 2018—The Parkinson’s Foundation has achieved a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, the nation's largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities.

The 4-star rating is the highest rating given only to nonprofit organizations that exceed industry standards and outperform peers, while demonstrating strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency.

Parkinson’s Foundation Awards New Nurse Faculty Grant to Four Nurses Specializing in Parkinson’s Care
Thursday, October 11, 2018

NEW YORK & MIAMI — October 11, 2018 — The Parkinson’s Foundation announced that it has awarded its first-ever Parkinson’s Foundation Nurse Faculty Award to four nurses, totaling $30,000. The nurses, all graduates of the Edmond J.

Update on NUPLAZID — FDA finds no new or unexpected safety risks
Friday, September 21, 2018

On September 20, 2018, the U.S.

Parkinson’s Foundation Extends Bilingual National Helpline Hours
Tuesday, September 18, 2018

NEW YORK & MIAMI — September 18, 2018 — The Parkinson’s Foundation announced today that its toll-free Helpline, 1-800-4PD-INFO, will extend its hours, answering calls in English and Spanish, to help make life better for people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and their families.

Parkinson’s Foundation Hosts Allied Team Training for Parkinson’s in Atlanta
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

NEW YORK & MIAMI—September 11, 2018—The Parkinson’s Foundation today announced the location of its signature professional education program course, Allied Team Training for Parkinson’s, ATTP®, for health care professionals treating patients with Parkinson’s disease, in Atlanta.

Parkinson’s Foundation Increases Funding to $6.2 Million to Advance Parkinson’s Research
Tuesday, August 14, 2018

NEW YORK & MIAMI — August 14, 2018 — The Parkinson’s Foundation announced today an increased investment of $6.2 million across 53 research grants to support the work of promising scientists in the field of Parkinson's disease (PD) in 2018.

PD Gladiators Merges with the Parkinson’s Foundation Expanding Reach in Greater Atlanta Parkinson’s Community
Wednesday, August 1, 2018

ATLANTA – August 1, 2018—PD Gladiators, Inc., an Atlanta-based nonprofit organization focused on combatting Parkinson’s disease (PD) with vigorous exercise, has merged with the Parkinson’s Foundation (PF), a non-profit organization whose mission is to make life better for people with PD worldwide through expert care and research.

Parkinson’s Foundation Partners with Medscape Education to Deliver Patient Education
Monday, July 30, 2018

July 30, 2018—The Parkinson’s Foundation has collaborated with Medscape Education to launch an online learning program entitled “Parkinson’s Disease Psychosis: A Learning Destination for Care Partners and Patients,” available on Medscape’s patient portal, WebMD Education.

Parkinson’s Foundation Designates Three Centers of Excellence in Parkinson’s Care: Global Network Expands to 45 Parkinson’s Centers
Tuesday, July 24, 2018

MIAMI & NEW YORK CITY — July 24, 2018 — The Parkinson’s Foundation today announced the addition of three new Centers of Excellence to its global network: Cleveland Clinic; Medical University of South Carolina; and University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

Parkinson’s Foundation Funds $450,000 for Local Parkinson’s Programs in Seven Cities Across the Country
Monday, July 23, 2018

NEW YORK & MIAMI — July 23, 2018 — The Parkinson's Foundation today announced it will fund nearly $450,000 to local community grants in seven cities that hosted the Foundation's annual fundraiser, Moving Day, A Walk for Parkinson's, in 2017. These grants will further the health, wellness and education of people with Parkinson's disease (PD).

Pages

mail icon

Subscribe here to get the latest news on treatments, research and other updates.