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.

Read more at med.ubc.ca.