Therapy for Parkinson’s
Friday, 12th October 2012

BOXING while naming the ways to cook an egg might sound ludicrous to some, but it’s one of the ways a Frenchs Forest woman with Parkinsons is regaining control of her life.

Pat Alberts, 60, is undertaking a new course to help Parkinsons disease sufferers combat its symptoms.

She was diagnosed last year after falls and a deterioration in her ability to walk.

Her daughter, a physiotherapy student, suggested she try a new program run by a neurological physiotherapist, Manly woman Melissa McConaghy, who devised it after studying findings in the US.

“PD Warrior” uses workouts with exaggerated movements, along with mental exercises, to retrain the brain to allow everyday movements with ease. This combats the slower and shorter movements that Parkinsons usually generates.

Mrs McConaghy said while there was still no cure, the program aimed to slow the effects of the disease.

“We’re trying to tap into the brain’s natural ability to rewire itself,” she said.

“It’s a lot of cognitive training. We might be asking them to name their surrounding suburbs while doing their exercises. It’s hard for this population to do.”

Those like Mrs Alberts are encouraged to swing their arms while exercising.

Mrs Alberts “feels strange” trying to do so, but she walks normally as a result. “Anybody looking at me would think it’s my normal walk,” she said.

BE THE WARRIOR

-Parkinsons disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease which effects the part of the brain responsible for initiating and co-ordinating movement.

The PD Warrior program, at Advance Rehab Centre, combines physical exercise and mental activity to combat the loss of motor control.

Source:  Manly Daily

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