Parkinson’s disease (PD) is one of the most common neurologic disorders experienced by elders, affecting around 70,000 Australians and 13,000 New Zealanders. While researchers continue to find a cure for this progressive disease, there are treatments that may provide relief from its motor and non-motor symptoms such as tremor, impaired movement, stiffness and stability, sleep disturbance and depression.
Drug therapy is the gold standard but, over time, it starts to lose its effectiveness in advanced patients, causing symptoms to fluctuate. This makes the disease hard to manage at home as both patients and caregivers become overwhelmed.
In comes deep brain stimulation. Using mild electric impulses to stimulate the affected part of the brain, it has seen people with PD reduce the amount of medication needed, according to research published in the Wiley Annals of Neurology. However, as with most surgery, risks are involved and it may only be suitable for some people with PD.
For those in the earlier stages of the disease, recent research at Northwestern University and Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago shows that people who exercise 150 minutes per week had a smaller decline in quality of life and mobility over two years, compared with people who did not exercise or exercised less.