My Parkinson’s Story: Exercise


– I’VE PLAYED ON
A LOT OF SOFTBALL TEAMS, AND I HUNT AND FISH, AND I KIND OF
GAVE ALL THAT UP. – HE WAS ALWAYS A REALLY
QUICK, ACTIVE PERSON. AND AFTER HE GOT PARKINSON’S,
IT KIND OF SLOWED THINGS DOWN. – PROBABLY THE BIGGEST THING
WAS I TENDED TO JUST DRAW BACK. – IT’S LIKE AGING
BEFORE YOUR TIME, YOU KNOW? AND YOUR MIND WANTS
TO DO THINGS THAT YOUR
BODY WON’T LET YOU. – HE HAD A LOT OF PROBLEMS
WITH FREEZING OF GAIT. – IT WOULD BE LIKE
YOUR LEG, YOUR FEET
WOULD BE IN CONCRETE. AND IT’S SET UP, AND YOU TRY TO
MOVE OUT OF IT, AND YOU CAN’T. THEN WHEN YOU
FINALLY BREAK OUT, YOU START STEPPING,
AND DOWN YOU GO. – HE WAS SOMEONE THAT
WAS FALLING EVERY DAY. THERE’S ACTUALLY 3 WAYS
THAT EXERCISE CAN REALLY HELP
PEOPLE WITH PARKINSON’S DISEASE. ONE IS BY PREVENTION, ONE IS BY COMPENSATION, AND ONE IS BY
NEUROPLASTICITY. AND SO WHEN YOU THINK
OF PREVENTION, I THINK EXERCISE IS
IMPORTANT FOR PREVENTING
THINGS THAT HAPPEN BECAUSE WE’RE INACTIVE,
LIKE HEART DISEASE OR BACK PAIN OR DEPRESSION. WHEN WE THINK OF COMPENSATION, EXERCISE CAN HELP YOU WITH
PARKINSON’S DISEASE COMPENSATE BY FINDING OTHER WAYS
TO DOING MOVEMENTS THAT ARE
DIFFICULT FOR THEM TO MOVE. BY PRACTICING THOSE ACTIVITIES,
LIKE WITH A THERAPIST
OR A TRAINER, YOUR BRAIN CAN FIND
COMPENSATORY PATHWAYS OR OTHER WAYS TO DO THE JOB
AND TO DO IT SAFELY. AND THEN WHEN IT COMES TO
NEUROPLASTICITY, EXERCISE IS REALLY
IMPORTANT BECAUSE WE THINK
IT CHANGES THE BRAIN. – WHEN I WAS IN MEDICAL SCHOOL, IT WAS THOUGHT THAT YOUR BRAIN
WAS WHAT YOU GOT AT BIRTH AND ALL YOU SUFFERED WERE
LOSSES THROUGHOUT YOUR
LIFE AS NEURONS DIED. FIRST THING IS, I’M GONNA HAVE
YOU JUST DO THIS FOR ME. BUT NOW IT’S RECOGNIZED THAT
THE BRAIN CAN CHANGE AND IS
CHANGING THROUGHOUT YOUR LIFE, AND WE KNOW THE BRAIN
CHANGES WITH EXERCISE. – SO NOW PEOPLE ARE THINKING,
“MAYBE THIS CAN ACTUALLY
SLOW DOWN THE PROGRESS OF PARKINSON’S DISEASE.” PEOPLE WHO WORK WITH,
FOR INSTANCE, MICE
THAT ARE EXERCISING, WHAT THEY CAN DO IS ASK
QUESTIONS WE CAN’T ANSWER– LIKE, “EXACTLY WHICH NEURONS
IN THE BRAIN ARE CHANGING
WITH THE EXERCISE AND HOW ARE THEY CHANGING?” – WE WANT TO BE ABLE TO KNOW
WHAT’S GOING ON IN THE BRAIN, AND ONLY IN ANIMAL MODELS
CAN YOU REALLY GO AHEAD
AND DO THIS. THESE MICE HAVE BEEN TREATED
WITH THE TOXIN THAT PRODUCES
THE PARKINSON’S DISEASE. SO WHAT WE DO IS WE EXERCISE THE
ANIMALS FOR A PERIOD OF TIME, AND WE THEN DETERMINE IF THE
EXERCISE IS EFFECTIVE OR NOT. WHAT WE’RE HOPING IS THAT
WITH OUR MOUSE MODEL THAT WE COULD ACTUALLY SHOW
THAT EXERCISE CAN SLOW DOWN
THE PROGRESSION OF THE DISEASE. WE HOPE THAT WITH US
FINDING OUT HOW THE BRAIN
REACTS TO EXERCISE, WE CAN THEN TRANSLATE
THIS TO THE CLINIC. – CLINICAL RESEARCHERS
LIKE MYSELF CAN HAVE SIMILAR
TYPES OF EXERCISE IN PEOPLE, AND NOW WE CAN MAKE
ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT WHAT’S
HAPPENING TO THE BRAIN. – MORNING.
– HELLO. – I’M HERE TO SEE RON.
– OK. – AT 2:00. – MR. BOYD WAS PART OF
AN EXERCISE STUDY THAT WAS LOOKING AT
VARIOUS FORMS OF EXERCISE AND LOOKING AT HOW IT AFFECTED
BOTH THEIR PARKINSON’S DISEASE BUT ALSO THEIR MOBILITY, AND THAT IS THEIR GAIT
AND BALANCE. – I WENT IN A LOT OF STUDIES… HOPING THAT SOMETHING
WOULD POP, AND THEY NOT NECESSARILY
STOP IT, BUT THEY SLOW IT DOWN. – LET’S TRY THIS. – ON THE FIRST MONDAY
WHEN I STARTED, I THOUGHT, “THIS IS
GONNA BE TOUGH.” ‘CAUSE I CAN’T STAND ON A BALL
AND BALANCE YOURSELF AND I HAVE TO PUT ONE LEG UP
AND PUT THE OTHER ONE DOWN SLOW. BUT I CAN. – HOLD YOUR WEIGHT
ON THE FRONT FOOT, MAKE SURE IT’S THERE. THEN, HANDS APART,
SLOW STEP. NICE! – WE HAD SPECIALIZED
INERTIAL SENSORS… I’M GONNA PUT ONE
ON YOUR LEFT WRIST AS WELL SO WE CAN SEE WHAT KIND
OF ARM MOVEMENTS YOU
HAVE WHEN YOU WALK. THAT WE PUT ON HIS LEGS
AND HIS ARMS AND HIS BODY. AND WE USE THOSE TO MEASURE
HOW THE BODY MOVES. SO, FOR EXAMPLE, WHEN HE WAS
STANDING AS STILL AS HE COULD, WE WOULD USE ONE OF
THE SENSORS ON HIS BELT TO MEASURE HIS
POSTURAL SWAY. ALL RIGHT. YOU ABLE
TO CLOSE YOUR EYES? WE COULD MEASURE AMOUNT
OF BODY SWAY BEFORE EXERCISE AND THEN AFTER
THE EXERCISE PROGRAM. THEN WHEN HE WAS WALKING, WE SAID, “HOW BIG
WERE HIS STEPS?” AND HOW MUCH WAS HE
SWINGING HIS ARMS? HOW MUCH WAS HIS TRUNK
ROTATING WHEN HE WAS WALKING? AND WE EXPECT WITH
IMPROVEMENT OF HIS BALANCE THAT WE WOULD SEE
IMPROVEMENT IN THESE MEASURES. THE BLUE AREA HERE IS YOUR
FORWARD AND BACKWARD SWAY
AND YOUR LEFT AND RIGHT SWAY WHEN YOU COULD USE YOUR
EYES AND YOUR FEET, BECAUSE YOU WERE ON
THE FIRM SURFACE. AFTER THIS PROGRAM OF
4 WEEKS OF WORKING INTENSELY
WITH THE PHYSICAL THERAPIST, HE HASN’T FALLEN SINCE, AND HE FEELS LIKE HE’S A LOT
MORE LIGHT ON HIS FEET. HE DOESN’T HAVE
AS MUCH FREEZING. HE’S ABLE TO MAKE TURNS
AND STEP BACKWARDS WITHOUT
LOSING HIS BALANCE. SO HE REALLY FEELS LIKE
THE EXERCISE PROGRAM HAS
DONE HIM A LOT OF GOOD. – FOR A MONTH, ALL I DID
WAS JUST STRETCHING AND
TAI CHI AND BOXING, AND THAT MADE A DIFFERENCE. – I LOVED WATCHING JIM
WITH THE PHYSICAL THERAPIST, AND I SAW HIM DO
ALL THE EXERCISES. I WAS, LIKE, AMAZED
AT HOW WELL HE DID. – I FEEL LIKE I’M MORE PLIABLE. I DON’T HAVE THE GAIT
OF A PARKINSON’S PERSON
RIGHT NOW. – THE EXERCISE STUDIES
OFTENTIMES ARE REALLY EFFECTIVE AT ESTABLISHING A HABIT. – IT’S NOT SOMETHING
YOU CAN DO AND SAY, “WELL, I’LL SEE A PHYSICAL
THERAPIST FOR A FEW WEEKS
AND THEN I’M DONE.” IT’S A LIFETIME CHANGE
WHERE EXERCISE HAS BECOME
PART OF THE ROUTINE OF YOUR DAILY LIFE. – MR. BOYD HAS HAD
A COMMITMENT TO EXERCISE WHICH, I THINK, HAS MADE
HIS PARKINSON’S DISEASE MUCH LESS OF A RESTRICTION
ON HIS LIFESTYLE, AND I ADMIRE HIS ABILITY
TO EXERCISE, AND I THINK IT’S
REALLY HELPING HIM. – I THINK HE’S DOING
AN EXCEPTIONALLY GOOD JOB. I THINK HE’S VERY MOTIVATED.
HE WORKS REALLY HARD. AND HE HAS FAMILY THAT
ENCOURAGES HIM AND HELPS HIM
AND EXERCISES WITH HIM. – HE ALSO HAS
A VERY SUPPORTIVE SPOUSE. – I GUESS IT’S MY TURN
TO CHEER HIM ON ‘CAUSE HE’S BEEN MY CHEERLEADER
AND HE BELIEVES IN ME. [VOICE QUAVERING]
– I COULDN’T DO IT
WITHOUT HER. WE’VE BEEN TOGETHER
SINCE WE WERE 16. SO SHE KNOWS ALL ABOUT ME
AND I KNOW ALL ABOUT HER. – THE 4 THINGS THAT ARE
IMPORTANT IN AN EXERCISE PROGRAM ARE STRENGTHENING,
CARDIOVASCULAR FITNESS, STRETCHING, AND AGILITY
AND BALANCE. – I STRETCH EVERY MORNING,
THEN I’LL DO SOME TAI CHI. THEN WE EITHER GO ON A WALK
OR I’LL GO TO THE GYM. MY GOAL WAS 6 DAYS,
THEN I TALKED TO DR. NUTT, AND HE SAID, “THAT’S GOOD.
LET’S DO IT 7.” – I PUSH EXERCISE
ON PATIENTS JUST BECAUSE I KNOW WHAT
IT DOES IN CONTROLLED
CLINICAL SETTINGS. – I GUESS I HAVE THIS BASIC
BELIEF THAT YOU’RE CHANGING
THE BRAIN JUST AS MUCH OR MORE WITH EXERCISE
AS YOU ARE WITH MEDICATION. – SO THE MAGNITUDE OF THE
IMPROVEMENT WITH EXERCISE IS LARGER THAN SOME OF THE
DRUGS THAT ARE MARKETED. – THERE’S NO SIDE EFFECTS.
THERE’S ONLY BENEFITS. – SO IF I CAN WARD OFF
THESE SYMPTOMS BY EXERCISING, WHAT A BETTER DEAL. YOU CAN SIT AROUND AND HAVE
PARKINSON’S AND WITHER AWAY, OR YOU CAN GIVE THE TOOLS
THAT YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN AND DO EXERCISE AND STRETCHING
AND IT PAYS OFF. YOU KNOW, WHAT A DEAL. – IT CAN KEEP YOU HEALTHY
AND STRONGER AND MOVING, AND IT’S WORTH EVERY MINUTE
THAT YOU INVEST IN IT. – EXERCISE CLEARLY IMPROVES
PARKINSON’S DISEASE. IT REDUCES THE SEVERITY
OF THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
OF THE DISEASE. – IT MAKES A HUMONGOUS
DIFFERENCE. YOU FEEL REJUVENATED. – HE’S MORE LIKE
HIS OLD SELF. IT’S KIND OF LIKE
TURNING BACK THE TIME. – LOTS OF STUFF THAT’S
BEEN TAKEN AWAY FROM ME
HAS COME BACK. [VOICE QUAVERING]
IT’S NOT EASY BEING
LOCKED UP INSIDE YOURSELF… AND I’M NOT NOW.

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