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February 2018 (Vol. 28 Issue 11)

Do daily chores, Parkinson's patients urged
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Do daily chores, Parkinson's patients urged image

Parkinson's sufferers should do daily household chores to protect their motor skills-and doing the washing up could even be better for them than formal exercise, researchers say

Parkinson disease patients often become sedentary because of worries about balance and the risk of a fall-but sitting around is the worst thing they can do, say researchers at the University of Michigan. Instead, sufferers need to get into the routine of daily action and movement, even if it's just doing household chores.

Regular exercise can protect against the loss of motor skills, they say. They tested 48 Parkinson's sufferers over a four-week period, and checked their levels of dopamine using a PET brain scan.

The participants exercised or did non-exercise activity-such as chores around the home-for four weeks, and those who carried out chores had better motor skills, irrespective of their levels of dopamine.

Although it's understandable why Parkinson's sufferers are worried about standing and walking around, sitting around actually makes their symptoms worsen, say the researchers.

(Source: Parkinsonism & Related Disorders, 2015; doi: 10.1016/j.parkreldis.2015.08.027)

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