Joe Kapsch on the theracycle. Photo Source: http://www.theracycle.com/
Hitherto there is no truly preventive treatment for Parkinson’s disease. It is important that neurologists be aware of the symptomatic triad of depression, losing the sense of smell and constipation. It is good to consult with a neurologist with some expertise in the subject when these cases are being studied more in depth, it can be helpful to determine if the person could be suffering from Parkinson’s.
Nowadays, there are healthcare settings around the world performing biopsies by swabbing rectal or nasal mucosa, this test serves as a method to detect if someone has an abnormal amount of Tau protein alpha synuclein in their cells. Finding out an abnormal amount of Tau in the mucosa is a way to diagnose very early if someone is going to have Parkinson’s at some point in their lives.
In 90% of the cases it is sporadic, a clear cause is not known. Some people believe it is caused by the environmental influences of toxic and agrochemical substances. While 10% of the cases have proven family ties. There are usually genetic changes that bring about a transformation in neurons making dopamine come inside the brain. However, this tends to cause deficiencies at the mitochondrial level which works as the power plant for neurons, making neurons die in less time than what is expected.
Findings shed light on possible new treatments against the condition
Even though there is no definite cure against Parkinson’s there are some treatments and methods that have shown excellent results to stop it and slow its evolution. Some of them are treatments that modify the neurodegenerative process and have been found to be very effective but they are still under-development, being tested on animals and voluntary prospects. However, scientists and doctors remain hopeful that sooner or later an effective medication able to stop and even revert neurologic destruction will be developed in a presentation that can be commercialized properly.
Meanwhile, there are some new wave treatments being evaluated in order to find innovative solutions and alternative methods to treat chronic neurological diseases that affect nervous and cognitive systems such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Many patients and doctors committed to the task of finding solutions and ways to alleviate symptoms from people with Parkinson’s have stated the need of patients for improving their lifestyle and have healthier habits in order to improve day to day health conditions.
The case of Joe Kapsch and how a special bicycle can completely change the way a patient feels on a daily basis
One of the best testimonials is the recent case of Joe Kapsch who is a theracycle rider and who is completely convinced that exercise has a positive effect on people that lives with chronic diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Kapsch was diagnosed with Parkinson’s many years ago and he says “Symptoms will eventually start to show up little by little, but the healthier someone feels then the smaller the effect these conditions will have on the affected person.”
Kaspch says in an interview “Symptoms at times have effects on you, for example, my legs hurt a lot. I felt a lot of pain in my legs and well, I remembered that a couple of years ago I had a recumbent bike… Well, the problem with that bike is that if one of your legs hurts too much you will not be able to pedal”.
However, the theracycle came as a solution for Joe since he can train his legs and arms at the same time so there is no excuse for him not to use it, he says. Among the benefits Joe says he has seen during the time he has used the theracycle, an alleviation in the pain felt in his legs is one of them. Joe says he has seen videos with people benefiting from exercises when suffering from way more difficult conditions that Parkinson’s. “I recall one of these videos I’d seen showed a woman with bad dyskinesia riding on a bicycle and she did it perfectly. You don’t do anything just by sitting there and taking pills.”
Joe says that exercising enriches his soul and that if he closes his eyes and rides while listening to music, he could ride forever. “It is just like playing basketball or any other exercise.” Joe also explains that there is a major improvement in other activities he does as well. Not being so worried about a chronic episode of pain has allowed Joe to enjoy the activities he used to enjoy before he started suffering from Parkinson’s.
The bicycle used by Joe is a motorized theracycle which is designed specifically as a means of physical therapy through exercise and movement for those living with Parkinson's, Multiple Sclerosis, stroke symptoms, or other mobility disorders. The system aids people with these kinds of diseases exercise up to their own limitations.
Exercise as a solution to reduce Parkinson’s effects on people
For the purpose ofimproving the quality of life of patients with Parkinson's an important part of rehabilitation will also be to facilitate the movements that they perform in daily life and that muscle rigidity make more difficult to execute.
Situations that may seem simple for the rest such as getting up from a chair or bed are not so easy for patients suffering from Parkinson’s. Therefore, it is important to prepare a training program that focuses on those kinds of circumstances in order to help patients become more autonomous so they will not require any help when doing day to day tasks.
Learning to fall safely (with hands in front of the body) and getting off the ground is also important in Parkinson's patients. Lack of balance, gait problems and postural decompensation can lead to falls.
The key points of physical activity for patients with Parkinson's:
- Mobilization of the joints
- Balance, proprioception and coordination exercises
- Improvement of muscular strength
- Improving body posture and breathing
- Exercises to improve gait
- Exercises aimed at staying autonomous in everyday life