A positive influence of vision on motor symptoms during sensory attention focused exercise for Parkinson's disease

Authors

  • Michael D. Sage MSc,

    1. Sun Life Financial Movement Disorders Research and Rehabilitation Centre, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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  • Quincy J. Almeida PhD

    Corresponding author
    1. Sun Life Financial Movement Disorders Research and Rehabilitation Centre, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
    • Movement Disorders Research and Rehabilitation Centre, Wilfrid Laurier University, 75 University Ave W, Waterloo, ON, Canada N2L 3C5
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  • Potential conflict of interest: None reported.

Abstract

This study evaluated the effect of increased attention to sensory feedback during exercise. Two 12-week exercise programs that differed only in the presence (PD SAFEx™) or absence (non-SAFE control group) of increased attention focused on sensory feedback were compared. Participants were assessed symptomatically using the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) before the start of the exercise program, immediately following the 12-week program and after a 6-week nonexercise washout period. Secondary outcome measures included the Timed-Up-and-Go (TUG), Grooved Pegboard (GP) and velocity and step length of self-paced gait. Both groups significantly improved on the TUG, GP, velocity, and step length, and this was maintained after a 6-week washout period. Of additional interest, only the PD SAFEx™ program significantly improved motor symptoms (UPDRS). These gains were maintained in the PD SAFEx™ group 6 weeks after the exercise was stopped, while motor symptoms significantly worsened in the non-SAFE group. These results suggest that increasing awareness of sensory feedback may be a critical factor that specifically impacts motor symptoms. Future work should strive to uncover the underlying neurophysiological mechanism behind this effect. © 2009 Movement Disorder Society

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