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Biking Linked to Parkinson’s Diagnosis

Alzheimer’s has clearly been on my mind lately, but I thought I would switch gears to another disease that Home Care Assistance specializes in: Parkinson’s.

Today, an article on NPR’s Health Blog caught my attention – linking the ability to ride a bike to the diagnosis of atypical or “regular” Parkinson’s. Dutch researchers asked 111 people with the disease a simple question, “Can you ride a bike?” 34 of the patients who responded with a negative were diagnosed with atypical parkinsonism, while only 2 of 45 who were diagnosed with “regular” Parkinson’s, reported having trouble biking.

The difference between the two types of Parkinson’s lies in the fact that atypical Parkinson’s usually includes a mix of different symptoms as a result of a primary neurological disorder and is typically harder to treat than the more common form. Biking takes coordination and balance, which are usually harder to command as a result of the problems associated with atypical Parkinson’s.

The frequency that the Dutch use bicycles make the study more appropriate to the Netherlands, but its results are raising awareness of simple yet legitimate (and cost-effective) tests that can be performed to diagnose the disease.

With an estimated 4 million people worldwide affected by Parkinson’s, it is integral that the treatment and prevention of the disease are pushed to the forefront of the health care industry.

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