DENVER (CBS4)– Some researchers in Colorado want to know if exercise can slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease. They’re studying newly diagnosed patients who have not been placed on medication.
In July 2013 Mike Cunningham was diagnosed with Parkinson’s just one month after his house burned down in the Black Forest Fire. “It wasn’t a good year for me,” said Cunningham. “Everything burned, trees, nothing’s left.”
Parkinson’s is a disabling condition of the brain. “My hand shakes all the time,” said Cunningham. He’s 51 years old but so far the tremors are his most troubling symptom. “You just don’t know how fast your symptoms with Parkinson’s are going to get worse,” said Cunningham.
That’s when he decided to enroll in an ongoing exercise study at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Participants are newly diagnosed with the disease and have not been put on medication.
“Many people tell us that they function better when they exercise,” said researcher Dr. Margaret Schenkman. She wants to know whether moderate or more vigorous exercise is the best.
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