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Study of exercise and Parkinson’s disease yields positive results

Habitual exercise may confer an advantage in combating Parkinson’s disease by facilitating the brain’s production of a crucial neurochemical, according to preliminary findings from a UBC study.

If the findings hold up in more people, the study could provide a biological explanation for the widely-observed positive effect that physical activity – including Tai Chi, boxing, even tango – seems to have on Parkinson’s disease symptoms.

Parkinson’s disease is caused by a degeneration of the brain cells that produce dopamine, a crucial neurotransmitter, leading to tremors, rigidity, slowness of movement, as well as non-motor symptoms, such as mood changes, depression and cognitive problems. The positive effects of exercise for Parkinson’s disease have been well reported, but the mechanisms of the benefits are unknown.