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Physiotherapy As Potential Treatment For Parkinson’s Disease

by Jacqueline Flexney-Briscoe

Sufferers of Parkinson’s Disease gained new hope this month after members of the University of Birmingham published the results of a meta-analysis in the BMJ. The data suggests that physiotherapy could generate a marked improvement on the symptoms of Parkinson’s sufferers.

Claire Tomlinson and her colleagues conducted a study spread across 39 trials, with over 1800 participants. The studies were then followed up over three months. Participants in various experimental groups were given a range of treatments including physiotherapy, placebo therapies and no physical therapy at all.

The results show definite promise. Of the twenty-nine groups studied in the meta-analysis, eighteen demonstrated notable improvements to characteristics including improvements to gait, balance, mobility, mental well-being, patient-rated quality of life and clinician-rated disability. Nine of these eighteen displayed significant improvement.

The final verdict on the study is that it indicates definitely potential. However, given the relatively small size of the sample group and the focus on short-term effects, it’s difficult to say with any real degree of surety that physiotherapy will have a significant and long-term effect on Parkinson’s Disease patients. Before any changes to the practice can be pursued, further studies will be required.

You can read the full account of the study here.


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