Physical therapy improved short-term functional ability or minimized secondary complications for patients with Parkinson disease (PD), based on a systematic review of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of intervention versus no intervention in patients with PD.
Researchers for the study, published ahead of print this week by Cochrane Database System Review, reported that the benefit was significant for speed, 2- or 6-minute walk test, Freezing of Gait questionnaire, Timed Up & Go test, Functional Reach test, Berg Balance Scale, and clinician-rated UPDRS.
Most of any observed differences between treatments were small, the researchers said, noting that these conclusions were based on indirect comparisons of the studies chosen for the review. A consensus menu of "best practice" physical therapy is needed, they concluded, as are large RCTs to demonstrate longer-term efficacy and cost-effectiveness of physical therapy interventions for PD.
The review identified 39 trials with 1827 participants, published up to the end of January 2012. Trials were classified into the following intervention comparisons: general physiotherapy, exercise, treadmill training, cueing, dance, and martial arts. The researchers used tests for heterogeneity to assess for differences in treatment effect across the different interventions.
Look for the full text of this study in APTA's Open Door and PTNow in about 6-8 weeks.
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