Objective: To determine whether physical activity may affect cognitive performance in patients with Parkinson's disease by measuring reaction times in patients participating in the Berlin BIG study.
Design: Randomized controlled trial, rater-blinded.
Setting: Ambulatory care.
Participants: Patients with mild to moderate Parkinson's disease (N=60) were randomly allocated to 3 treatment arms. Outcome was measured at the termination of training and at follow-up 16 weeks after baseline in 58 patients (completers).
Interventions: Patients received 16 hours of individual Lee Silverman Voice Treatment-BIG training (BIG; duration of treatment, 4wk), 16 hours of group training with Nordic Walking (WALK; duration of treatment, 8wk), or nonsupervised domestic exercise (HOME; duration of instruction, 1hr).
Main outcome measures: Cued reaction time (cRT) and noncued reaction time (nRT).
Results: Differences between treatment groups in improvement in reaction times from baseline to intermediate and baseline to follow-up assessments were observed for cRT but not for nRT. Pairwise t test comparisons revealed differences in change in cRT at both measurements between BIG and HOME groups (intermediate: -52ms; 95% confidence interval [CI], -84/-20; P=.002; follow-up: 55ms; CI, -105/-6; P=.030) and between WALK and HOME groups (intermediate: -61ms; CI, -120/-2; P=.042; follow-up: -78ms; CI, -136/-20; P=.010). There was no difference between BIG and WALK groups (intermediate: 9ms; CI, -49/67; P=.742; follow-up: 23ms; CI, -27/72; P=.361).
Conclusion: Supervised physical exercise with Lee Silverman Voice Treatment-BIG or Nordic Walking is associated with improvement in cognitive aspects of movement preparation.
Keywords: Exercise; Parkinson's disease; Reaction times; Rehabilitation.
Copyright © 2014 American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.