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Exercise Can Slow Down Parkinson's Disease; Watch Out For These Early Symptoms

Molecular reason for the benefits of exercising in relieving Parkinson's symptoms is out. Take a look.

Exercise Can Slow Down Parkinsons Disease; Watch Out For These Early Symptoms

Humans start showing Parkinson's symptoms at mid-age


  1. Exercising on a treadmill can slow down Parkinsons progression
  2. Mice, just like humans, started showing Parkinsons symptoms in mid-age
  3. DJ-1 protein is required for normal movements in the body

Till now, it has been well-established that exercising on a treadmill can slow down Parkinson's progression in patients. But most of us are not aware of the molecular reason behind it. Well, it looks like scientists at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus may have found the answer. In a progressive study, first of its kind, it was found that exercising by running on a wheel could stop the accumulation neuronal protein alpha-synuclein in brain cells. Researchers explained that alpha-synuclein clumps could be playing a central role in brain cell death linked to Parkinson's.

The mice, just like humans, started showing Parkinson's symptoms in during mid-age. When they turned 12 months, running wheels were placed in their cages.

"After three months," researcher Wenbo Zhou said, "the running animals showed much better movement and cognitive function compared to control transgenic animals which had locked running wheels."

Zhou along with Curt Freed, his co-researcher, found that exercise in running mice improved their brain and muscle expression of the main protective gene called DJ-1. Humans born with a rare mutation of this gene are sure to suffer severe Parkinson's symptoms at a young age. They checked the mice which lacked this gene and found that their ability to run had declined greatly. This suggested that the DJ-1 protein is required for normal movements.

"Our results indicate that exercise may slow the progression of Parkinson's disease by turning on the protective gene DJ-1 and thereby preventing abnormal protein accumulation in brain," Freed explained. He further added that such animal experiments had real implications for human beings.

"Our experiments show that exercise can get to the heart of the problem in Parkinson's disease," Freed said. "People with Parkinson's who exercise are likely able to keep their brain cells from dying."

This research appeared in the PLOS ONE journal.

Watch out for these early signs and symptoms of Parkinson's disease:

1. Tremor in the hands even when it is at rest

2. Difficulty in movement

3. Rigidity in muscles

4. Disturbed body posture and balance

5. Inability to perform unconscious movements like blinking

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6. Difficulty in writing

With inputs from ANI


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