PAN Advocate Speaks at Congressional Briefing about Parkinson's and Exercise

PAN’s Pennsylvania State Director Patti Lightner shared her experience using exercise to manage her Parkinson’s disease symptoms during a congressional briefing on April 29 about how exercise improves brain function and health.

Patti was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s disease about 20 years ago and told the audience that while medication has helped, she believes regular exercise is what has kept her mobile.

“I exercise every day because it keeps me going,” Patti told a crowd of about 30 health advocates and congressional staff members.

Patti attends an aquatics class, uses a stationary bike, and sees a personal trainer twice a week.
“There is a lot of hope [for treatments] in Parkinson’s disease and exercise is just one area that gives us hope,” Patti said.

The briefing also included remarks by Robin Elliott, president of the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, board member of PAN, and chair of the American Brain Coalition. Dr. Elizabeth Eckstrom, associate professor and director of geriatrics at Oregon Health & Science University, also shared information about how exercise has been proven to maintain brain function and boost brain power.

For example, a 2012 study found that a single cycling session reduced tremor and bradykinesia in people with Parkinson’s disease.

The congressional briefing was hosted by the Congressional Neuroscience Caucus and the Congressional Bike Caucus, while the American Brain Coalition, Parkinson’s Action Network, and Oregon Health & Science University sponsored the event.

Date originally posted: May 2, 2014.