Conference Coverage

Physical activity slows cognitive decline in patients with Parkinson’s disease



Physical activity is associated with slower cognitive decline in de novo patients with Parkinson’s disease, according to Sneha Mantri, MD, of Duke University in Durham, N.C., and colleagues, who presented the results of their study at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.

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Physical activity is an important component of the management of Parkinson’s disease and is shown to mitigate cognitive decline among patients with moderate disease, said Dr. Mantri and colleagues. “Exercise levels in de novo and early disease may influence risk of future cognitive decline; early disease also presents an opportunity for early intervention and possible disease modification,” Dr. Mantri said.

Physical activity levels in early disease are known to be low, but the effects of activity on cognition are currently unclear. To assess the relationship between physical activity and cognition, Dr. Mantri and colleagues examined patients with Parkinson’s disease who were enrolled in the prospective Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) cohort. At annual study visits, participants completed the Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly (PASE), a validated self-reported questionnaire assessing household, leisure, and work activities over the previous 7 days. The researchers used a linear mixed-effects model to compare rates of change in the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) according to PASE scores; covariates included age, sex, Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) part III score, and baseline MoCA.

A total of 379 patients completed at least one PASE questionnaire over the course of the study. PASE scores in this cohort have been previously described (Mantri S et al. J Park Dis. 2018;8[1]:107-11). Although overall rates of cognitive decline are known to be modest in this early cohort, PASE over time has a significant effect on MoCA during follow-up (P = 0.02) which suggest that higher levels of activity throughout disease are associated with better cognitive performance.

Dr. Mantri had nothing to disclose. Among her coauthors, Dr. Tropea received personal compensation from Genzyme and Medtronics and research support from Sanofi. Dr. Morley had nothing to disclose.

SOURCE: Mantri S et al. AAN 2019, Abstract P2.8-021.

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