HealthDay News — For individuals with Parkinson’s disease, an exercise program does not reduce falls overall, although it could help in milder disease, according to a study published online in Neurology.
Colleen G. Canning, PhD, from the University of Sydney, and colleagues examined fall prevention in a study involving 231 people with Parkinson’s disease randomized to exercise (practiced for 40 to 60 minutes, three times per week, for six months) or usual-care groups.
The researchers found that neither the rate of falls (incidence rate ratio [IRR], 0.73; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.45 to 1.17; P = 0.18) nor the proportion of fallers (P = 0.45) differed significantly between the groups. There was a significant interaction for disease severity in preplanned subgroup analysis (P < 0.001).
There were fewer falls in the exercise group than the control group in the lower disease severity subgroup (IRR, 0.31; 95% CI, 0.15 to 0.62; P < 0.001), while there was a trend toward more falls in the exercise group within the higher disease severity subgroup (IRR, 1.61; 95% CI, 0.86 to 3.03; P = 0.13). After adjustment for baseline performance, participants in the exercise group scored significantly better on the Short Physical Performance Battery, sit-to-stand, fear of falling, affect, and quality of life post-intervention than controls.
“These results suggest that minimally supervised exercise programs aimed at reducing falls in people with Parkinson’s should be started early in the disease process,” Canning said in a journal news release.
Several authors disclosed financial ties to the health care and pharmaceutical industries.