Neurologists from the University of Maryland Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center and the Baltimore VA Medical Center are featured in the PBS show “Frontline” in a program called “My Father, My Brother, and Me,” which follows producer David Iverson’s personal journey with Parkinson’s disease.
The documentary team traveled to Baltimore to see what the Maryland researchers are learning about the potential benefits of exercise for Parkinson’s patients. Now in its third year, the goal of the study is to find out whether exercising several times a week can help people with Parkinson’s disease improve their walking and balance.
During the show, viewers will see study participants walking on specialized treadmills at the Baltimore VA’s Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, a gym facility with equipment for people who may have some physical limitations. Study participant Thomas Manning of Laurel also shares his personal story and how he feels the exercise has benefited him.
Dr. Lisa Shulman, M.D. is the principal investigator for the University of Maryland study. During the Frontline program, she observes, "Maybe there's been a cultural perspective that has embraced pharmaceutical and surgical approaches and has considered lifestyle changes soft and not worthy of study. But it's not at all hard for me to imagine that the results of a properly designed exercise program are going to be more effective than many of the medications we have now.”
Dr. Shulman is the Eugenia Brin Professor of Neurology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. She is also co-director of the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center. The exercise study is funded through a $750,000 grant from the Michael J. Fox foundation.
For more information or to watch this Frontline documentary online, go to this site: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/parkinsons
For more information on the University of Maryland/Baltimore VA Medical Center trial on Parkinson’s disease and exercise, go to these sites:
Or call study coordinator Terra Hill at 443-827-0677.