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Thursday April 23, 2009

PR Newswire - More than 1.5 million Parkinson's patients currently suffer from uncontrollable leg, arm and hand movements; and the number in the U.S. alone grows by 50,000 annually.

Now there is some good news on the horizon for Parkinson's patients - improving motor functions in the legs, hands and arms of Parkinson's patients may be as simple as riding a bike.

Dr. Angela Ridgel, an assistant professor in exercise science at Kent State University, has confirmed that patients riding an assisted bike for eight weeks, three times a week experience an increase in motor functions in their legs, hands and arms. Dr. Ridgel suggests this assisted exercise is potentially changing the nervous system. Dr. Ridgel's research - conducted with Dr. Jay Alberts at the Cleveland Clinic - will be published in the 2009 Journal of Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair.

Dr. Ridgel has since taken the research a step further at Kent State University to help identify the optimum pedaling rate to achieve the best possible results. Current research shows patients who rode an assisted bike one-time exhibited a 35 to 40 percent improvement that lasted beyond the day of the exercise.