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Brain games help Parkinson’s patients

August 22, 2012 (WLS) – Each year, about 50,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Tremors and poor balance often plague these patients, but there’s another, lesser-known problem that a new study aims to help.

The disease causes tremors and movement problems. But many don’t know it also affects memory in about 30 percent of patients.

“The type of memory affected in Parkinson’s disease is very different than in Alzheimer’s disease,” said Karen Anderson, MD, Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Neurology, University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Parkinson’s patients have trouble multi-tasking and using information they’ve learned. That’s where the treadmills and computers come in.

Researchers are studying whether three sessions a week of exercise and brain games will help improve memory in Parkinson’s patients. The idea is to boost a chemical in the brain known as BDNF.

“We’re hoping through exercise to stimulate production of BDNF, which may cause brain cells to function better or even start to renew themselves,” said Anderson.

The patients are divided into three groups: those who only exercise, those who only use the computer games only and those who do both. Researchers conduct memory assessments at the beginning of the study and three months after the study.

They are still enrolling patients in this four-year trial.

The study is limited to patients in the Baltimore, Maryland area.

For More Information, Contact:

Karen Robinson
University Of Maryland medical Center
(410) 706-7590
krobinson@som.umaryland.edu

 

(Copyright ©2012 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)
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