, Volume 118, Issue 5, pp 773-781
Date: 03 Apr 2011

Physical, occupational, speech and swallowing therapies and physical exercise in Parkinson’s disease

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Former studies on the effects of physical exercise, physical and occupational therapy (PT, OT) and speech and swallowing therapy (ST, SwT) in Parkinson’s disease (PD) have demonstrated little or uncertain effects. New pathophysiological concepts have been developed. Recent controlled high-level studies demonstrate improvement of mobility and balance after training of muscular strength and endurance, trunk control, and amplitude and rhythmicity of movements (treadmill). Attentional and cognitive strategies were found to enforce body awareness and improve movement sequences. Dance, sensory (auditory, visual, tactile) and cognitive cueing are effective for problems of gait and balance. Whether PT and OT reduce the risk of falls remains uncertain. ST including Lee Silverman Voice Treatment has been shown to relieve speech problems. SwT and OT are frequently applied, however, further studies are necessary. Therapeutic interventions need to be evaluated with regard to consistency, intensity, frequency, duration, side effects, home versus institution based and standardized versus individualized training, quality standards, practicability in real life, and cost-effectiveness. Parkinson patients should resume or continue physical exercise as long as possible. There is hope that regular sport may modify PD risk and progression.