AAN: Low Intensity Walking Improves Parkinson's Mobility

And the investigational drug safinamide appears to reduce dyskinesia in Parkinson's patients

WEDNESDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- Low-intensity treadmill walking appears to improve mobility among patients with Parkinson's disease, while an investigational drug, safinamide, seems to reduce dyskinesia in patients with mid- to late-stage Parkinson's disease, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, held from April 9 to 16 in Honolulu.

Lisa M. Shulman, M.D., of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues randomized 67 individuals with Parkinson's disease who had problems with walking to one of three types of exercise, including high-intensity treadmill (greater speed, shorter duration), low-intensity treadmill (lower speed, longer duration), or stretching and resistance exercises that involved repetitions of leg presses, extensions, and curls. The investigators found that low-intensity treadmill training resulted in the most consistent improvements in gait and mobility. However, only stretching and resistance training improved the ratings on the Parkinson's disease scale.

In another study, Ravi Anand, M.D., of Newron Pharmaceuticals in Bresso, Italy, and colleagues randomized 669 patients with mid- to late-stage Parkinson's disease, who were already taking levodopa and other dopaminergic treatments, to 50 or 100 mg of safinamide per day or a placebo. In a post-hoc analysis after two years, the investigators found that, compared with placebo, safinamide at 100 mg a day in addition to levodopa reduced dyskinesia by 24 percent in the one-third of participants who had scored at least a four on the dyskinesia rating scale at the beginning of the study. There were no significant differences for patients on the 50 mg dose and no significant differences in movement control scores in the overall population. Adverse events were similar among the three groups.

"These results are an important step forward in understanding how safinamide impacts patients with severe Parkinson's disease. Symptoms of Parkinson's disease, motor fluctuations and dyskinesia can greatly affect a person's daily living and quality of life," Anand said in a statement.

The study by Anand and colleagues was supported by Newron/Merck Serono S.A.-Geneva.

Press Release - Shulman
Press Release - Anand
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