Physical therapy in Parkinson's disease: an open long-term rehabilitation trial

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Abstract.The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of prolonged physical therapy on disability in patients with Parkinson's disease. The study was designed as an open long-term trial over 20 weeks. Twenty slightly to moderately affected parkinsonian patients were included (Hoehn & Yahr stages: 1.5-3). A comprehensive rehabilitation program was applied three times a week in all patients. Pharmacological treatment was kept stable. Evaluations were performed at baseline, at the end of treatment and after 3 months. Following physical rehabilitation, there was a significant improvement in UPDRS (ADL and motor sections) scores, Self-assessment Parkinson's disease Disability Scale, Ten-Meter Walk test and Zung scale for depression. At 3-month follow-up clinical improvements were largely maintained. A sustained improvement of motor skills in PD patients can be achieved with a long-term comprehensive rehabilitation program.

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