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Physical Activity Is Link Between Dopaminergic Deficits and Cognition in PD

July 15, 2019

The link between cognition and dopaminergic deficits in Parkinson disease is mediated by physical activity, according to a study recently published in the journal Parkinsonism & Related Disorders.

“Pending further research for specific recommendations, interventions to increase physical activity as tolerated should be considered in patients with Parkinson's disease,” researchers advised.

The recommendation stems from a multicenter study involving 174 patients with Parkinson disease. Researchers evaluated participants’ striatal dopamine transporter availability, physical activity, and global cognition.

The positive mediating effect of physical activity in the association between dopamine transporter availability and cognition was significant, according to the study. Higher striatal dopamine transporter binding ratios were positively linked with participants’ scores on the Physical Activity Scale for Elderly, researchers reported. Physical activity scores, in turn, were positively associated with scores on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment.

A similar positive mediation effect of physical activity for dopamine transporter availability in the caudate and putamen was identified in secondary analyses, researchers wrote.

Jolynn Tumolo


Shih CH, Moore K, Browner N, Sklerov M, Dayan E. Physical activity mediates the association between striatal dopamine transporter availability and cognition in Parkinson's disease. Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2019;62:68-72.

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