In a study published online in Neurology on May 17, researchers found that women with higher levels of physical activity are less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease (PD).
Led by Berta Portugal, Ph.D., from Université Paris-Saclay, the team examined the connection between varying levels of physical activity over time and the incidence of PD.
The study aimed to eliminate the possibility of reverse causation, which is when it’s unclear whether a certain factor is a cause or effect of a condition.
The researchers gathered data from the E3N cohort study, which tracked women connected to a national health insurance plan from 1990 to 2018.
During the study, the participants self-reported their physical activity in six different questionnaires.
The researchers created a variable called “latent physical activity” (LPA) to account for changes in questions across the different surveys.
Among 1,196 cases and 23,879 controls, the researchers noticed that LPA was significantly lower in cases (women who developed PD) compared to controls throughout the study.
This included 29 years prior to a PD diagnosis. Notably, the difference in LPA between the two groups started to widen approximately 10 years before a PD diagnosis.
In a broader analysis involving 95,354 women who were free of PD in 2000, the researchers found that 1,074 women developed PD over the next 17.2 years.
The data showed that as LPA increased, the incidence of PD decreased.
Women in the highest quartile of physical activity had a 25% lower risk of developing PD compared to those in the lowest quartile. The results held true even with longer follow-up periods.
These findings suggest that physical exercise programs might help lower the risk of PD.
However, it’s essential to mention that several authors of the study disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.
While more research is needed to validate these results, the study provides a promising outlook for prevention strategies against PD.
It highlights the importance of maintaining regular physical activity, not only for general health but also as a potential measure to reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s.
If you care about Parkinson’s disease, please read studies about Vitamin E that may help prevent Parkinson’s disease, and Vitamin D could benefit people with Parkinson’s disease.
For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about new way to treat Parkinson’s disease, and results showing COVID-19 may be linked to Parkinson’s disease.
The study was published in Neurology.
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