This story on the possible benefits of exercise for people with Parkinson’s disease does not provide information in a context that allows the reader to evaluate the claims made. Though the anecdotal stories are positive, they are not in a context with a framework to allow to judge how generalizable these stories are. Where are the data? Where is the evidence? Examples of benefit are presented in very general terms (walked a little faster, fewer falls) without any frame of reference for the magnitude of improvement or whether the change was statically or clinically significant. A National Institutes of Health conference was briefly mentioned. What came out of it? This article lacks focus and makes suggestions without background or context.
No mention of the costs associated with the type of physical therapy discussed or whether such therapy is covered by insurance or Medicare.
Examples of benefit are presented in very general terms (walked a little faster, fewer falls) without any frame of reference for the magnitude of improvement or whether the change was statically or clinically significant.
One expert is quoted saying, “But in general, the kind of exercise we’re talking about is certainly not going to hurt.” But suggestions for incorporating techniques such as walking backwards would seemingly come with some risk, especially in an unsupervised location.
While mentioning a conference at the National Institutes of Health and other ‘evidence’ in the piece, the story does not provide sufficient detail that would allow assessment of the information. The strength of the evidence is called into question when quotes include comments like ‘still hope that we can slow down or stop’, finding ‘signals of improvement’ or even positing that ‘even more advanced patients might benefit’ without data in hand.
The natural history of Parkinson’s or its variability are not presented
Only one investigator is quoted. The story mentions an NIH meeting without any details that would allow a reader to learn more.
Ideas about exercise modalities (dance, treadmills) are presented, but information about medications or devices used in the treatment of Parkinson’s is lacking
Though presented as something new (“the notion is gaining such ground”) there is a literature about the use of exercise and physical movement in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease that dates back at least to the 1960’s.
We can’t be sure if the story relied solely on a news release.