• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Cycling can help battle Parkinson's

Parkinson's patients may be able to reduce their symptoms by emulating Tour de France winner and Olympic gold medallist Bradley Wiggins, researchers have found.

Scientists found cycling led to greater connectivity between brain regions linked to the disease.

But vigorous "forced" pedalling was key to the changes, which were associated with improvements in co-ordination and balance.

The US research lends support to anecdotal evidence of cycling alleviating Parkinson's symptoms. The debilitating disease, which affects motor regions of the brain, causes shaking, rigidity and slow movement.

Neuroscientist Dr Jay Alberts conducted the study after riding a tandem bicycle across Iowa with a patient to raise awareness of the disease.

He noticed his companion's condition improved after the ride.

Dr Alberts, from Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute, said: "The finding was serendipitous.

"I was pedalling faster than her, which forced her to pedal faster. She had improvements in her upper extremity function, so we started to look at the possible mechanism behind this improved function."

The scientists found faster cycling boosted nerve connections between the primary motor cortex and thalamus, which is vital to co-ordinated movement, and impaired in Parkinson's patients.

Contextual targeting label: 
Health

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

127513