Experts say exercise could help reduce substance abuse in adoles - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Case Western and Cleveland Clinic study shows exercise benefits those suffering from Parkinson's Disease, drug abuse

(Source: WOIO) (Source: WOIO)
CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -

The physical benefits of a daily workout are well known.

A new study out of Case Western Reserve University shows it also benefits your mind and can treat Parkinson's Disease.

Mary Beth Houlahan says she wants to live and so she hops on a stationary bike at least three times a week for an hour.

This gave me energy back to know that I could still go through my day, work my full-time job, take care of my family and participate in activities that I got enjoyment from, prior to being diagnosed," she said.

About three years ago, she was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease.

Her doctor suggested she participate in a study to see if the "forced exercise" would help with her condition.

For four months three times a week for an hour at a time, she exercised on the bike, with the help of a motor at certain intervals.

She says she noticed a boost in energy right away and her doctor saw improvements.

"He did another exam and there was very little progression of the disease, so we contributed a lot of that to the activity," said Houlahan.

"We're trying to provide a helping hand and if we could potentially make the exercise not as difficult, make it a little bit easier and still drive the rewards system, eventually what we think is going to happen or could happen is that patients won't be as dependent on the motor and they will do more of it on their own," Jay Alberts, PhD, Cleveland Clinic.

He co-authored the study and research has shown "exercise may help reinforce underdeveloped connections between brain's reward and regulatory processes."

Alberts says there's been a 35 percent improvement in motor skills following the study. He hopes to try this study in other areas like teenagers battling substance abuse.

Exercise has numerous, well-documented health benefits. It could also play a role in preventing and reducing substance misuse and abuse in adolescents.

Next steps include formally testing assisted cycling versus standard cycling as treatment for substance abuse disease.

You can read more about the study here.

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