15th International Congress
15th international congress

News Release

Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Media Contact:

Elizabeth Laur, (414) 276-2145, elaur@movementdisorders.org
MDS Press Room: Metro Toronto Convention Centre, South Building, Room 705

Note to media: See abstract 591

Cycling ability maintained in Parkinson's disease patients with freezing of gait

TORONTO - A study investigating the use of cycling in Parkinson's disease patients with freezing of gait was presented today at The Movement Disorder Society's 15th International Congress of Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders.

The study, led by Anke Snijders, MD, of Nijmegen, the Netherlands, shows cycling to be less affected than walking when used as a physical rehabilitation method for patients with freezing of gait in Parkinson's disease.

Of the 53 Parkinson's disease patients interviewed for the study, 23 experienced freezing of gait. Only one of those 23 patients experienced episodes of freezing of gait while cycling, though it was less severe than during walking. Eight of the patients with freezing of gait reported that the feet sometimes exerted an irregular pressure on the pedals, but without obvious obstruction.

Daniel Tarsy, MD, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, states, "Recent anecdotal reports indicate that patients with Parkinson's disease who suffer from gait freezing can ride a bicycle much more easily than they can walk. The study by Snijders indicates this may be a relatively common phenomenon. Only one of 23 patients who reported gait freezing experienced similar difficulty while cycling. If this can be confirmed by direct observation, it indicates that individuals with gait freezing can enjoy useful physical exercise. Whether this occurs by utilizing an alternative motor system, taking advantage of sensory cues provided by rotating bike pedals, or by other mechanisms, is of great interest and will be worth investigating."

In addition to maintained motor function, cycling promotes physical activity among patients, which can prevent other complications of immobility in Parkinson's disease.

About the 15th International Congress of Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders:
Meeting attendees are gathered to learn the latest research findings and state-of-the-art treatment options for Movement Disorders, including Parkinson's disease. More than 3,200 physicians and medical professionals from 74 countries will be able to view over 1,100 scientific abstracts submitted by clinicians from around the world.

About The Movement Disorder Society:
The Movement Disorder Society, an international society of over 3,000 clinicians, scientists, and other healthcare professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. For more information about The Movement Disorder Society, visit www.movementdisorders.org.