Research: TAMIR and co-authors,

Listed in Issue 146

Abstract

TAMIR and co-authors, Department of Physical Therapy, Sapir Center, Meir General Hospital, Kfar Saba, Israel,  ruthd@research.haifa.ac.il, have assessed the novel treatment of motor imagery practice in Parkinson’s disease.

Background

The application of motor imagery practice in the treatment of Parkinson's disease is a novel treatment approach for improving motor function. The aim of this study was to compare group treatment using a combination of physical and motor imagery practice with group treatment using only physical practice in subjects with Parkinson’s.

Methodology

Of 23 patients with idiopathic Parkinson’s, 12 received combined therapy, whereas 11 received physical therapy alone. Exercises for both groups were applied during 1-h sessions held twice a week for 12 weeks. Comparable motor tasks provided to both groups included callisthenic exercises, functional tasks, and relaxation exercises. However, the experimental group was treated with both imagery and real practice, whereas the control group received only physical exercises. Outcome measures included the time required to complete sequences of movements, the performance of balance tasks, impairment and functional scores on the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS), and specific cognitive abilities (Stroop and clock drawing tests).

Results

Following the intervention, the combined treatment group exhibited significantly faster performance of movement sequences than the control group. In addition, the experimental subjects demonstrated higher gains in the mental and motor subsets of the UPDRS and in the cognitive tests. Both groups improved on the activities of daily living scale.

Conclusion

The combination of motor imagery and real practice may be effective in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. The implementation of this treatment regimen allows for the extension of practice time with negligible risk and low cost.

References

Tamir R, Dickstein R, Huberman M. Integration of motor imagery and physical practice in group treatment applied to subjects with Parkinson's disease. Neurorehabilitation & Neural Repair 21 (1): 68-75, Jan-Feb 2007.

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