AbstractThe cardinal motor symptoms of Parkinson's Disease (PD) include, postural instability, bradykinesia, tremor and rigidity. The overall Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale(UPDRS-III) indicates, the gold-standard treatment for PD (dopaminergic-therapy) is very effective in improving these symptoms. However, recent research indicated that 2 of the 4 cardinal symptoms of PD (balance and tremor) remain unimproved by dopaminergic-therapy. This prompts the investigation of other alternative and adjunct treatments such as exercise rehabilitation. Unfortunately, like drug studies, exercise studies often focus on overall symptom-improvement yet fail to monitor changes to specific symptoms. This may be problematic for individuals with different symptomatic phenotypes. If tremor/balance were the main concern, then adjunct therapies may be critically important when these symptoms may be dopa-resistant. Thus, it is important for all therapies to examine individual symptomatic-improvement. Interestingly, recent studies show PDSAFEx™(a sensory integration therapy) to have a significantly improve motor symptoms in comparison to traditional exercise(Sage et al.,2012). Yet, the effects of PDSAFEx™ on individual PD symptoms is unknown. Thus, the purpose of this study was to explore the effects of PD SAFEx™ on PD symptoms in adjunct to medications. UPDRS-III scores of 229 cases were retrospectively examined and analysed in SPSS using Wilcoxon pairs singed-rank test to evaluate specific symptom-improvements. PDSAFEx™ was confirmed to improve overall motor symptoms(p=0.0001), but more importantly a significant improvement to tremor(p<0.00001) and balance(p<0.00001) were also identified. These findings suggest that PDSAFEx™ is an important adjunct to medications, since it is able to address all four cardinal symptoms of PD.
Acknowledgments: Movement Disorders Research and Rehabilitation Centre and Wilfrid Laurier University