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Plan to beat Parkinson’s

MENTAL, PHYSICAL WORKOUTS HELP PATIENTS
BOXING while doing a maths puzzle is part of a new program helping people with Parkinson’s disease.


East Gosford physiotherapist Russell Tuckerman with patient Trish Donohue of East Gosford.

PD Warrior, a new exercise regime developed by Sydney neurological physiotherapist Melissa McConaghy, is helping patients regain some control over their bodies and their lives by aiming to retrain the brain.

Central Coast physiotherapist Russell Tuckerman has trained with Ms McConaghy and is excited to bring the program to the coast.

‘‘It’s a revolution for people with Parkinson’s disease, the second most degenerative brain disease after dementia,’’ Mr Tuckerman said.

The exercise – based program has a number of benefits for people with Parkinson’s, a group that can rarely exercise due to the symptoms of the disease.

‘‘People with Parkinson’s Russell Tuckerman runs PD Warrior classes with eight people at his East Gosford physiotherapy practice. He has held a number of information nights for health practitioners to explain the program. Anyone interested in talking to him or finding out more can call 4323 7499 disease are often isolated,’’ Mr Tuckerman said.

‘‘They become unfit because they don’t do any exercise . . . and they become unhealthy and socially isolated.’’
The program has been developed based on research from the US which shows exercise can change the chemicals in the brain.

Trish Donohue of East Gosford was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2004 after Mr Tuckerman, who was treating her for shoulder pain, suggested she see a neurologist.

Thirty people a day in Australia are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and around 80,000 Australians are living with the disease.

It’s a progressive neuro degenerative disease affecting the part of the brain responsible for initiating and co-ordinating movement.

‘‘I didn’t have the shakes or tremors, but my arm stopped swinging,’’ she said.

Mr Tuckerman said the program included 16 circuit exercises combined with mental puzzles.

While not a cure, it is believed to slow down the effects of the disease and help people live the best life they can.

‘‘I feel energised after I’ve done the exercises,’’ Ms Donohue said. ‘‘The biggest thing, though, is the improvement to my mental health – although I do like the boxing exercise.’’

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