Journal of Neural Transmission

, Volume 126, Issue 3, pp 319–325 | Cite as

Association between physical activity and dementia’s risk factors in patients with Parkinson’s disease

  • Mohammad Alwardat
  • Tommaso SchirinziEmail author
  • Giulia Di Lazzaro
  • Giulia Maria Sancesario
  • Donatella Franco
  • Paola Imbriani
  • Paola Sinibaldi Salimei
  • Sergio Bernardini
  • Nicola Biagio Mercuri
  • Antonio Pisani
Neurology and Preclinical Neurological Studies - Original Article


Evidence suggests that physical activity (PA) exerts beneficial effects on neurodegenerative processes, either as symptomatic relief or disease-modifying strategy. Actually, it may represent a viable neuroprotective intervention in Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD), a severe, frequent, and untreatable complication of Parkinson’s disease (PD). According to such hypothesis, this cross-sectional study tested, in PD patients, the association between levels of PA and well-known risk factors for PDD, such as mood disorders and amyloid-β42 CSF content. Amount of PA was measured by the International Physical Activity Questionnaires—Short Form (IPAQ–SF) in 128 cognitively intact PD patients and correlated with the Hamilton-Depression (HAM-D) and the Hamilton-Anxiety (HAM-A) scores; in a homogenous subgroup of 40 patients, it was further correlated with a panel of CSF biomarkers, including amyloid-β42, total α-synuclein, total, and phosphorylated tau. The statistical model was corrected for the main potential confounding factors (motor impairment, dopaminergic treatment, disease duration, age, and sex). Both the HAM-A and HAM-D scores, as well as the Aβ42 CSF content, improved in parallel with the increase of the total week amount of PA. Although with several limitations, we preliminarily demonstrated that a high level of PA is associated with a more favourable profile of PDD risk factors, in terms of both mood disturbances and CSF markers of neurodegeneration. However, confirmative studies are necessary to validate the efficacy of PA as protective intervention for PDD.


Parkinson’s disease Physical activity Parkinson’s disease dementia Frailty CSF biomarkers Neuroprotection 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

The “Tor Vergata University Hospital” Ethics Committee approved the study; the study also respected the ethical standards of Helsinki declaration. Participants provided informed consent.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohammad Alwardat
    • 1
  • Tommaso Schirinzi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Giulia Di Lazzaro
    • 1
  • Giulia Maria Sancesario
    • 2
  • Donatella Franco
    • 1
  • Paola Imbriani
    • 1
    • 4
  • Paola Sinibaldi Salimei
    • 3
  • Sergio Bernardini
    • 2
  • Nicola Biagio Mercuri
    • 1
    • 4
  • Antonio Pisani
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Systems MedicineUniversity of Roma “Tor Vergata”RomeItaly
  2. 2.Department of Experimental Medicine and SurgeryUniversity of Roma “Tor Vergata”RomeItaly
  3. 3.Department of Biomedicine and PreventionUniversity of Roma “Tor Vergata”RomeItaly
  4. 4.IRCCS Fondazione Santa LuciaRomeItaly

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