Benefits of Exercise on the Executive Functions in People with Parkinson Disease: A Controlled Clinical Trial

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Abstract

Objective

We have made a 3-arm trial (group vs. individual exercise vs. no treatment) to test the effects of a 6-month exercise program upon the executive functions in participants with Parkinson disease.

Methods

Twenty-four subjects were randomly allocated in 3 groups and undertook individualized exercises (G1, n = 8), group exercises (G2, n = 8), or monitoring (G3, n = 8). Executive functions were evaluated by means of the Wisconsin card sorting test and the Raven colored matrices, both assessed at the beginning of the program and after 6 months. The statistical analyses consisted of the application of repeated measurement tests, with a significant level of 5%.

Results

The findings showed similar behavior of groups in terms of the Wisconsin card sorting test (P = 0.792), reporting no benefit of the program on such instrument. Differently, Raven colored matrices evidenced a significant benefit provided by the intervention (P = 0.032). Compared with the control group, individuals from G1 had a substantial improvement on executive functions (P = 0.031) and from G2 had a trend of significance (P = 0.072).

Conclusion

Findings of this study show that 6 months of exercise improved some aspects of executive functions when compared with control peers. Individual therapy seems to have a more prominent improvement than group therapy.

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