Treadmills Help Parkinsons Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a neurological condition that causes patients to lose control of their movements. A 2009 review of studies on the subject revealed that training on a treadmill does help Parkinson’s patients develop better walking movements.
The Treadmill Study
This finding, published by The Cochrane Library, considered eight separate studies comprising a total of over 200 patients. The studies compared treatment results without using a treadmill and results of treatments using a treadmill at different speeds, stride lengths, distance, and frequency of steps. Treatment by treadmill improved all of these measures, except frequency of steps. These results are significant because treatments previous to the introduction of treadmills consisted primarily of administration of pharmaceuticals.
The studies were conducted with smaller numbers of patients, so the researchers say more work needs to be done to confirm the usefulness of treadmill training. Still to be determined is whether the results will hold true in larger studies and what the optimal speed and duration of training are. However, perhaps the most useful result of treadmill training in the studies was training patients to simply walk faster and more effectively, without significant side effects. The review was conducted by the Wissenschaftliches Institut in Germany.
By Robert Braun